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Rev. benjamin T. SEWELL, 










No. 119 North Sixth Street, 


12 51 

Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1858, by 

rf.v. benjamin T. SEWELL. 

in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Eastern District of 




Prefatory Address to the Reader by the Author 9 

Author's Introduction ,y 

Introductory Letter by Ret. W. Kexney 21 

" " by Rev. F. Moore 29 

" " by Rev. J. B. M'CULLOUGH 35 


Mr Introduction to Sorrow's Circuit 41 


The Priest and the Doctor 53 


Consistenct a Jewel qq 


OtjR FIRST Mission Sabbath School 7X 

Our Day School 



Some FURTHER account of our Day School 81 





The Neglected Little Ones 87 

A Picture op the Children's Homes 90 

Half an hour in Bedford Street 97 

Jim in School by his Teacher 101 

Street Preaching 105 

Manner OP Presenting the Gospel 110 

Fruit Ripening 117 

Our Baker Street Congregation 126 



Conversion Extraordinary 136 

Conversion — a Poem 143 





Conversion op an Infidel of the Sunday Institute 145 

A Chapter op Calamities, but Grace Triumphant. 156 

Poverty and Religion 164 

Beligion under Rags 167 

Vice in Ruffles and Rags 174 

Can^uch a Woman be sated ? 183 

Fearful Judgments on the Wicked 187 

Little Katy and her Family 192 

More about Little Katy and her Mother 201 

A whole Family saved by two suits of clothes 205 

Dying but not Ready.... 210 




The Backslider 213 

A GOOD Lesson fob Repining Christians 221 



JVIarriages Ordinary and ExTRAORDiNAtey 233 

A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing 239 

Jersey Lightning 246 

Death's Doings 250 

A better Picture— Conversion and its Results 262 

Poverty and its Temptations 268 

Is Drunkenness a Constitutional Disease? 271 

A Brand plucked prom the Burning 279 




A Contrast between two Dying Persons 288 

Barefooted in the Snow 296 

A Man saved from being Burikd Alive 302 

The fatal Results of Procrastination 307 

A Warning to Green Ones 311 


A Mother and her Prodigal Son 318 


Setting Out — A Chapter for the Inquisitive 323 

Murders and Mobs 332 

The Rag-Picker 337 

Speak to that Girl : — She is my Child 342 

The Forlorn Hope 346 




The Past and the Present 355 


Constitution 407 

Act of Incorporation 411 

Officers of the Young Men's Central Home Mission 413 

Eesolutions 414 

Officers of the Ladies' Central Home Mission 415 


To THE Reader : — It is customary, I believe, for au- 
thors to give, in the beginning of their books, a por- 
traiture of their own faces in lithographic form. Well, 
I suppose, custom in such cases makes law. I therefore 
conform to the law, and give to the reader on the open- 
ing page of this book, a faithful delineation, not of my 
own, but, of the real author's face. For I do not wish to 
lay myself open to the charge of plagiarism by repre- 
senting myself as the author, when the world knows very 
well that I am not. I am only " editor for the author." 

But lest any should be disposed to censure me too 

severely for being found in such close proximity to such 

a suspicious looking personage, I would simply say, in 

self-justification, that I have long since learned to give 

even Satan his due ; and I hope, moreover, in editing our 

author's works, to contribute somewhat to the advance 


10 author's prefatory address. 

of the cause of Temperance and Religion in this, our 
highly favored, and once truly happy, but now rum- 
cursed and sorrow-stricken country. 

Turn over the leaf then, kind reader, and take a look 
at our author's face. 

On the right of the picture you see a sign — " Wine 
and Liquor Store." There is more than that stored 
there ! But wine and liquor would do no harm, if there 
were not some trusty fellow employed to deal it out to 
the charmed ones. 

But there he is — a man of good manners, — a clever fel- 
low, — very talkative and jovial. He keeps good liquors 
— (of course he has no bad) and cheap liquors, and often 
tests their qualities himself by drinking in the presence of 
his customers, so as to excite their thirst for the intoxi- 
cating draught. But, as I said before, there is more 
than wine and liquor stored there. Sorrow is also stored 
there, to be dealt out in large measure to all the faithful 
ones that meet to worship at the " shrine of Bacchus." 
'Tis true, they seem for the time being to have a happy 
time of it while drinking, and singing, and dancing ; but 
when the fiddler's to pay, then comes a "change o' 
the scene." 

The shifting scenery takes us from the groggery to the 
once happy home of the once sober, industrious, and well- 
clad, but now drunken, idle, and disgustingly wretched 

author's prefatory address. 11 

man. You see he lives (pardon my blunder) right next 
door to the " Wine and Liquor Store." But more than 
that is seen, if your eyes are doing their duty. The 
infuriated husband and father, raving under the madden- 
ing influences of the poisonous contents of the bottle, 
filled but a little while since by his accommodating 
neighbor, is noAV using that same bottle in felling his un- 
offending companion to the ground. See ! he has her 
by the throat, and is choking her to death ! There too 
are their children, — a boy, and a girl, and an infant, — 
weeping bitterly, and frightened almost out of their 
senses at the horrid spectacle which they are forced to 

But the people in the neighborhood seem not to care 
a straw about the matter. Such scenes indeed occur so 
frequently in the neighborhood of " Wine and Liquor 
Store" that they have become accustomed to them, — 
nay, find enjoyment in them. 

P. S. — I have seen persons fighting in the street, — 
the one stabbing the other, — and while the blood was 
running in torrents from the wounds, the people stood 
laughing at the belligerents, or at my efibrts to part 
them, I know not which, — perhaps both. 

But to proceed. Next door you see a man ! ! pouring 
down his throat the contents of his bottle, which he 
loves better than he loves his wife, or his only child, or 

12 author's prefatory address. 

indeed himself; for wliile he repulses those that should 
ever have the first place in his affections, he clings -with 
a desperate grasp to their enemy, aye, and Ms own, — 
the bottle. 

But we must hasten on. We have not time to stop 
long on our visits, nor indeed would it be desirable to 
do so in such a place as this. 

See there ! a colored man has just brought that man 
home in a state of beastly intoxication. He lives, 'tis 
true, a little further off from " Wine and Liquor Store," 
but not so far as to escape its degrading and blighting 
influences, for, as you see, he gets drunk there and has 
to be brought home on a wheelbarrow. 

P. S. — I have seen the "live picture" scores of times 
within the bounds of my Mission field. 

But just look at that boy, perhaps ten years old, who 
is leaning against the door-post with a segar in his mouth ! 
He blushes not for his father's degradation, for he him- 
self has already the swagger of the loafer, and is sure to 
be one before long, if he does not became an inmate of 
the House of Refuge. That poor little girl is too young 
to know how much she is disgraced by the brutality of 
her father ; but filled with fear at the ghastly sight which 
he presents, she seeks for refuge with her heart-broken 
mother. But, poor woman ! how can she protect the 
child ? She will be obliged to fly for her own safety 

author's prefatory address. 13 

as soon as her drunken husband gets upon his feet 

But let us return to the corner store. Aha ! ! there 
is a row there. Hold on — not too near. See ! That 
man lying upon his back is about to fire a pistol 
into the body of his antagonist, who is pummelling him 
with his fists ; while a third stands with a huge knife 
drawn ready to plunge into the heart of the "bully." 

But let us leave those murderous villains, and go and 
see what that darkened mass is which is lying yonder in 
the gutter. In all probability it is a human being. And 
sure enough, it is a man, or rather the wreck of a man. 
His empty bottle is lying by his side, indicative of the 
cause of his degradation, while the filthy swine is root- 
ing around him in the mire, and occasionally snorting, as 
if in disgust at the sight of a being once bearing the im- 
age of Deity, but now, by his own act, more degraded 
than itself. Poor man ! He will never rise again 
from his degradation. He is even now breathing his 
last, and his poor body, when borne from this filthy spot, 
will be deposited in the drunken pauper's grave, while 
his ruined soul, I fear, will sink into the drunkard's hell. 

P. S. again. — I have seen this picture more than 
once in Baker and Spafibrd streets. Male and female 
have been found, whose death, the coroner's jury decided 
was occasioned by " visitation of God ;" but on closer 

14 author's prefatory address. 

examination by myself, was found to have resulted from 
visitation of the bottle. 

But to return to our picture. Just stand where you 
are, and take a look at the proprietor of "Wine and 
Liquor Store." With folded arms and a " three-center" 
between his teeth, he seems to be enjoying the fun amaz- 
ingly. What, indeed, does he care who's cut, or shot, or 
robbed ? It's a part, a legitimate part of his business, 
and cannot be separated from it. ' Indeed the two are 
as closely united as the Sianiese twins. They live by a 
common life-blood, and must ultimately perish together. 
"But," says one, "the landlord makes his money by the 
sale of intoxicating drinks ; and ought not every man to 
try and make an honest living?" 

Honest, indeed ! Look at that last penny he took 
from his next-door neighbor. Why, sir, you need not 
ask whose image and superscription it bears ; for it is all 
stained with blood, and on one side you can see written 
in legible characters Murder, and on the other Plunder. 
Indeed the very beams of his house, and the stones in 
the wall, cry out against the injustice and extortion of 
the man ; while every wind that passes his dwelling seems 
to be freighted with the sighs and death-groans of the 
victims that have been slaughtered within. 

Such, then, dear reader, is the author of this book, or 
at least, the furnisher of its materials, and the occasion 


of its publication. He still lives, and fares sumptuously 
every day ; and withal, he has a host of friends who 
plead manfully in extenuation of his little improprieties, 
while they assert that he deals in " God's creatures," and 
is not therefore to be scandalized by teetotallers. 

Wishing to do this author ample justice, and allow 
him to speak for himself on all points affecting his repu- 
tation, I shall now proceed to lay before you the materi- 
als with which he has furnished me in the "Five Points" 
of Philadelphia, the neighborhood of Bedford Street 
Mission, and ask for them a patient hearing before you 
pronounce judgment upon the character and conduct of 
our author. 

B. T. Sewell. 



The Rev. Edward Griffiths, fifty years ago, said, "My 
ravished eye beholds the kingdom of Christ advanced to 
the glories of the heavenly state; — looks through the 
vail which conceals the heavenly world, and discerns 
thousands of millions of happy beings, ransomed from 
destruction, and brought to their Father's house. It be- 
holds the church encircling the throne of her Redeemer, 
casting her honors at his feet, buried in the ocean of 
his glory, united to the Father by ineffable relationship, 
while all heaven is ringing with hosannas for Redeem- 
ing Love. There, there is the august kingdom com- 
pleted, which God at first undertook to erect. 

Say, now, Christian reader, is not the object worthy of 
all the means employed for its attainment ? 

Do you hesitate? Look, and think again. Follow 
only one soul into eternity. Trace its endless course 



through delights which flesh and blood could not sustain. 
Pursue it through the ascending degrees of its etern.'il 
progression. See it leaving behind the former dimen- 
sions of Seraphim and Cherubim, and still stretching 
towards God. 

Great God ! What an event ! the conversion of a sin- 
gle soul ! ! the infinite mercy that redeemed and saved 
such countless millions ! ! boundless compassion of 
Christ ! an ocean of love without bottom or shore I *' ! 
the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowl- 
edge of God," which are here unfolded ! 

Now the Judgment is come, and past. What think 
you now, my skeptic brother ? What think you now of 
Christ, Julian, Porphyry ? Now speak, Voltaire, Hume^ 
Bolingbroke, Gibbon, Paine. Where are the tongues 
that once blasphemed the Lord's Anointed ? 

Let our subject burst like ten thousand thunders upon 
those, who, in rejecting Christ the Mediator, resist all 
the designs of God ; who would destroy the only interest 
of the universe ; who are fatally contending with all the 
energies of Omnipotence. 

Oh that I had a voice to reach the hearts of impeni- 
tent sinners of every class ! 

Knew ye the infinite glories of our Messiah, — the dar- 
ling of heaven, — the wonder of angels ! Knew ye your 


ruin and your necessities ! — Knew ye the tenderness of 
Him who wept because you would sin, who, to save sin- 
ners, sweat great drops of blood, and then, after hang- 
ing three dreadful hours in pain, expired upon the cross, 
amid an excited and blood-thirsty mob ! 

Will you thus pass idly by the reeking sacrifice ? Will 
you refuse Him reverence, and coldly cast away the 
benefits of his dying love ? 

I would that I were able to summon all the kingdoms 
of the earth to rise in mass, and urge forward the cause 
of the Redeemer. 

What have you to do, ye nations, that ye will not 
serve the cause of the Lord's Anointed ? — that ye will 
not join with us in earnest eff'orts to hasten the uni- 
versal spread of his kingdom ? 

Let your throbbing bosoms swell with desire to be fel- 
low-workers in the great field which is already white for 
the harvest, — in the great work of saving fallen man, 
and bringing him up to the sublime felicities of eternal 

Come with me through " Sorrow's Circuit," where sin 
grows like rank weeds in a neglected garden, and where 
sorrow's sighs go heavenward for help ; — where the fet- 
tered victim walks among the tombs : — where father and 
mother in loud wailings are hunting a lost son or daugh- 


ter, — perhaps both: — or wife, in agonizing despair, is 
still praying for a long, long-lost husband : — or husband, 
frantic, cries, "0 sir ! do something for my wife's salva- 
tion !" Come with me, and learn your duty and your 


By Rev. W. Kenney, 
Pastor of the Ashury M. E. Church, Wilmmgton, Bel. 

Dear Brother :— The work of evangelizing the world 
is entrusted to human instrumentality. God works, but he 
works by men ; pouring the streams of light and heal- 
ing upon the dark and disordered heart of humanity, 
through the channels of a sanctified and far-reaching 
sympathy. The performance of the assigned work, is 
at once^the test and condition of fellowship with God. 
" If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none 
of his ;" and, animated by that Spirit, the world takes 
knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus ; while at 
the same time the indwelling of that Spirit harmonizes 
all the heart's desires and energies with the divine plans 
and purposes, thereby making us "co-workers with 
God" in reclaiming the world from the dominion of 



The work is vast-it appalls by its very sublimity. 
To reclaim an allied world, and bring it into willing al- 
legiance to its Sovereign— to harmonize its teeming mil- 
lions as members of the " Commonwealth of Israel"— to 
give light and hope and joy and blessing to the dwellers 
in the region and shadow of death ; until every wilder- 
ness and solitary place shall be glad-until every desert 
shall rejoice and blossom as the rose, and all hearts 
shall break forth into joy and singing-is a work before 
^vhich the highest achievements of worldly ambition 
fade into utter insignificance. 

And yet, imspeakably grand as it is, it is the very 
^vork to which the Church of God must give herself in 
the singleness of absolute consecration. It challenges 
the undivided faith, and energy, and means with which 
God has invested her. Her lighted candle must be on 
the candlestick, pouring the light of a divine and puri- 
fying radiance like a baptism upon the heart of the 
world. She must come up from the wilderness, and 
meet the responsibilities of her divinely ordained mission 
as the "city on a hill,"— occupying the high places as- 
signed her by the Divine Head, until "the mountain of 
the Lord's house shall be established on the top of the 
mountains, and exalted above the hills, and all nations 
shall flow unto it." Her voice, heralding the glad ti- 


dings of a free, full, and present salvation, must be licard . 
by all that are afar off, and by them that are nigh. 

For it is not alone in the far distant regions of the 
Pagan world, we are to push our quest for adequate 
fields for missionary enterprise and achievement. These 
lie at our door. Their borders trench upon the very 
gates of Zion's palaces. The desolate waste, the moral 
Avilderness, the valley of death, give back in sad and 
wailing echoes the sound of our Sabbath-bells, as they 
summon worshipping multitudes to the sanctuary of God. 
The heathen are in our midst. Physical and moral 
wretchedness as repulsive and appalling as ever lined the 
shores of the Ganges, or darkened the plains of India, 
is found in the very centers of our highest civilization. 
The wail of the perishing sweeps past our thresholds 
upon every breeze, and the sunlight of every day reveals 
to the observant eye multitudes of every age and color, 
crowding through unblest graves to a dark and hope- 
less eternity. 

These home fields of missionary labor and sacrifice, it 
is true, are not the most inviting. They are invested 
with none of that romantic charm which lures the man 
of God across oceans to the distant places of the earth. 
They are at home, and therefore homely. Their conti- 
guity renders impossible the " distance Avhich lends en- 
chantment to the view." But to the eye of a true faith, 


they reveal wants as pressing, demands as legitimate, 
and claims as imperative, as the most remote corner of 
the missionary field. 

And shall the church be deaf to the supplications of 
neighborhood necessities ? Because no long, expensive, 
and perilous journeyings are needed to bring us into the 
midst of fields perishing for lack of reapers, shall we re- 
fuse to put forth the sickle and gather the harvest for 
God ? Is a soul in Bedford street less precious than in 
Africa, Turkey, or India ? Is it less a christian duty to 
give bread to the hungry, raiment to the naked, instruc- 
tion to the ignorant, and salvation to the perishing, be- 
cause the recipient is at our doors ? 

It is cause for devout thankfulness to God, that the 
past few years have brought to us the dawn of a better 
era in the history of missionary effort. Increased effort 
and liberality have been awakened towards distant ^elds, 
and this has disciplined the heart of the church to a 
clearer appreciation of duty in regard to home wants. 
For confirmation we have only to look at the "Cause- 
way" in Baltimore, the ''Old Brewery" in New York, 
and "Bedford street" in Philadelphia. These fields 
owe their continued and successful cultivation to the 
spirit awakened in the Church by enlarged missionary 
labors abroad. For the genuine missionary spirit is like the 
tides of the ocean. In its ebb, it bears away the treasui'es 


cast upon its shore, while the returning current repays 
abundantly by its munificent compensations. Increased 
liberality towards the foreign, has filled the treasury of 
our domestic missions ; while increased devotion to the 
liome work, has resulted in a vast enlargement of the 
distant field. Indeed, the home and the foreign are one 
and harmonious. One in spirit, for this is the love of 
souls for whom Jesus died ; and one in object, for this 
is to bring all men, whether near or remote, to the 
knowledge of the truth here, and to all the blessedness 
of Heaven hereafter. 

I have said, the missionary work appalls by its very 
sublimity. If I do not greatly mistake, 7/ou, my dear 
brother, will fully understand me. For years, you have 
stood alone in the midst of that valley of dry bones, 
prophesying in the name of the Lord your God. Alone 
did I say ? Nay, not alone. For as with Saul when he 
went home to Gibeah, there has gone with you, in your 
self-sacrificing employment, *' a hand of men, wJiose 
hearts Crod had touched ;" and though of i/ou, as of him, 
" the children of Belial said. How shall this man save 
us?" yet the Lord, the mighty God, has been with you, 
breathing through your utterances a spirit and a power, 
wiiich have clothed many a skeleton in t/our " valley of 
vision" with all the beauty and energy of a new divine 
life. And then, ten thousand prayers, ascending as pure 


incense from regenerated, grateful hearts, Lave brouglit 
down upon your soul a ceaseless baptism of jo}^ as you 
have seen the power of the gospel exemplified in the sal- 
vation of these neglected outcasts. 

I most fully and heartily endorse your purpose to give 
to the Christian public in book form, some of the many 
stirring facts and incidents which have marked the pro- 
gress of your labors in the "Bedford street" mission. 
You have abundant means to verify the adage, "Truth is 
stranger than fiction." For no fancy could paint, no 
imagination conceive, the scenes and facts with which you 
have become either painfully or joyously familiar. And 
I indulge the earnest hope, that every incident recorded 
in your forth-coming pages, will fall with stirring power 
upon the sluggish waters of Christian sympathy, and re- 
sult in a vast enlargement of the means for prosecuting 
your Christ-like work. 

I am somewhat familiar, as you know, with the field in 
which you labor, as well as with the means by which that 
labor is sustained. I have gazed with unutterable emo- 
tion upon the scenes of misery that cover the sphere of 
your mission. I have talked to the children in your 
school, and listened to their joyous songs. I have wit- 
nessed the untiring, self-denying, and wasting labors of 
the devoted Christian ladies, who, thougli fitted by nature 
and education for the most refined a&occlations, prefer to 


forego all other pleasures, for the rewards of "well-doing, 
as they toil on in their daily task of instructing those 
who have no other instructors ; and I have felt — I now 
feel, that the church is not half awake to the sublime im- 
portance of giving increased and unfailing efficiency to 
this great and noble work. But still, the work will go 
on. The "handful of corn" planted by your toil, and 
watered by your tears, " will shake like Lebanon, and 
they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth." 
Strong hands and willing hearts are enlisted in its sup- 
port. The gold and silver are the Lord's ; and many, 
who till now have been unfaithful stewaiTls of their Mas- 
ter's goods, will yet come to your aid, that they too may 
inherit the blessings of Him who was ready to perish. 

Friends of humanity, lovers of Christ, and lovers of 
souls for Christ's sake, — ye whom God hath blessed with 
homes and plenty — who never have felt the pinchings 
of literal and spiritual famine— whose jubilant hopes, as 
they grasp the promise of the life that now is, and of 
that which is to come, give light and joy to your happy 
Christian homes — will ye not, from the loftier position 
to which God hath exalted you, come down once and 
again to cheer the man of God in his toil ; and pour the 
means of hope, and joy, and salvation, into the always 
open treasury of the " Young Men's Central Home Mis- 
sion : 


And you, my brother, take courage. " Let not your 
heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." Already 
" the glory of Lebanon and the excellency of Carmel 
and Sharon" have dawned over the dark desert where 
with toil and tears, you have gone forth, bearing precious 
seed. " The grass withereth, the flower fadeth ; but the 
word of our God shall stand forever." "For as the rain 
Cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth 
not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring 
forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and 
bread to the eater ; so shall my word be that goeth forth 
out of my mouth ; it shall not return unto me void, but 
it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall pros- 
per in the thing whereto I sent it." Then shall ye "go 
out with joy" to look upon the triumphs of grace, in 
, reclaiming these waste places for Christ ; as over all the 
scene, " instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, 
and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree ; 
and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting 

sign that shall not be cut off." 

W. Kenney. 
Wilmington, Del., July 29, 1859. 



By Rev. F. Moore, 
Pastor of the Wharton St. M. E. Church, Philadelphia. 

To a mind earnestly tracing the footsteps of the Di- 
vine man, Christ Jesus, few incidents of his toilsome 
life-journey are invested with more tender interest than 
that which clings around the occasions on which he 
retired apart to the solitudes of nature, to pray. One 
of those occasions was when he had not only healed 
their sick (which he did on both occasions), but had also 
miraculously fed, by the multiplication of the five loaves 
and two fishes, the weary multitude, which, at the time, 
thronged around him, and heard him gladly. Before 
the narrative of this amazing miracle, and of the fact 
that " He went up into a mountain apart to pray," oc- 
curs the passage of inimitable beauty and unutterable 
fullness of meaning, " And Jesus went forth, and saw a 

great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward 



them, and he healed their sick." Now, with this scene 
of the weary, and ignorant, and sinful multitude, fresh in 
his mind, can we suppose that, in the fervent prayer 
which he offered up amidst the majestic loneliness of the 
mountain, which, for the time, he had transformed into 
an altar of purest devotion, he had forgotten to pray for 
those whose condition had so deeply moved his com- 
passions ? Oh, no, no ! — he, doubtless, prayed the Fa- 
ther in their behalf, possibly, at this very time, called 
on God for the fallen and sorrow-smitten, " with strong 
crying and tears." But the expression once of the 
mind and heart of Jesus, Avhere a great principle touch- 
ing human salvation is involved, is the expression of 
that mind and heart forever, for all time. AVhile, there- 
fore, the sympathies of the risen and glorified Jesus are 
co-extensive with the race redeemed with his " precious 
blood ;" while his soul is going out for the heathen — his 
promised inheritance ; while his yearnings are for the 
ends of the earth — his promised possession, we cannot 
doubt that he breathes into the ear of the Father Al- 
mighty, his blood-sprinkled intercessions for the de- 
praved and benighted multitudes within the limits of 
Christendom, who " are as sheep having no shepherd." 
Home and Foreign Missions have both the deepest in- 
terest of our Saviour and Lord. It is obvious, then, 
that while the one should claim the ear and the efforts of 


the Cliurcli of Christ, the other should not be neglected. 
What is needed, however, to arouse the energetic, work- 
ing attention of Christians, is the communication of facts 
connected with both the home and foreign departments 
of missionary labor. Let simple and reliable statements 
be given of the deplorable condition of men in whose 
behalf an appeal is made to our hearts. Let narrations, 
concise and earnest, be recorded for the perusal of 
Christians, of the triumphs of the Gospel, its ability to 
save the ignorant and outcast. Let all this be done, 
and such truth will soon show itself mighty, and must 
prevail to open the coffers of the church, and to scatter 
their contents with an unsparing hand. Such truth will 
also prevail to unseal the fountains of pious sympathy 
in multitudes of Christian hearts ; will move many to 
prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, who, 
sent by the Father in the name of the Son, will come 
down in subduing majesty, "Like mighty winds, or tor- 
rents fierce," till he shall " opposers all o'errun ; and 
every law of sin reverse." 

. The followinof work of Rev. B. T. Sewell claims not 
to be an elaborate exhibition of the great question of 
■Missions, but it is rather a repertory of solemn, awful, 
startling facts, which are designed to be as coals of fire 
glowing "right on the naked heart" of the church. It 
is to be hoped this unassuming volume will find many 


readers who will be excited, by its thrilling narratives of 
woe, and of Gospel victories, to an increased interest in 
the cause of Missions. 

The cause is Divine. It must, sooner or later, triumph 
everywhere. It cannot be stayed until the earth is re- 
newed, all over, in righteousness. As the gracious Re- 
deemer sat on the mountain overlooking the little sea of 
Galilee, and thought and prayed, how sad, in one aspect, 
was the sight presenting itself to his soul ! He looked 
then over the earth, and through the ages of time, and saw 
how sin was smiting the earth with plague and pestilence. 
He saw how sin was- forever carving out graves for the 
teeming masses of the living, and poisoning evermore the 
souls of all ranks of men. He saw sin, as a hideous 
monster, with the heart of humanity writhing and bleed- 
ing in his loathsome grasp, and uttering perpetually 
moans of sorrow which were rolling and reverberating 
down the gallery of ages. He saw earth and time sym- 
bolized by the sea of Galilee upon whose breast the night 
shadows were gathering thick and black, and over whose 
breast the tempest was sweeping, banking the waters into 
billows of fury and foam. So the shadows of sin and 
sorrow had fallen with an awful gloom, upon the human 
race ; the earth all over Avas heaving and seething with 
passion. He saw, he felt, he prayed. He prayed with 
an unction, a power which is being unfolded by each sue- 


cesslve age of human history. Now he is enthroned, 
and awaits the rewards of his tribulations — ^he triumph- 
antly anticipates the fruits of " the travail of his soul." 
He sees all the events of history working together to 
produce a far different prospect from that which greeted 
him when he prayed on the mountain apart. As Galilee 
was, after the night of storm had passed away, bright 
and gleaming in the morning sunlight ; so he now looks 
into the future, and beholds the sea of humanity stilled 
at his feet, mirroring in its depths, the bright things of 
heaven, the blessed beauties of holiness. 

Philadelphia, Sept. 1th., 1859. 


By Rev. J. B. M'Cullough, 
Pastor of the Ehenezer M. E. Church, Philadelphia, 

Reader, you are just on the precincts of " Sorrow's 
Circuit," a district over which I have been wandering 
for some days past, while reviewing, at Brother Sewell's 
earnest solicitation, the manuscript of the interesting 
book you now hold in your hand. The scenes that will 
open upon your view as you proceed will not be the 
most fascinating imaginable, but they will be none the 
less interesting and profitable on that account. 

True, you may not find a great deal in this work to 
gratify mere literary taste, but you will find that which 
is of more importance, something that will better your 
heart, and improve your life ; something that will sup- 
press all disposition to murmur at the lot assigned you 
by Divine Providence ; that will humble you in view of 

your ingratitude for the many blessings and comforts 



you have enjoyed in the past ; and that will, I trust, in- 
spire you with a ncAV zeal for God, a new love for reli- 
gion, and a new interest in all the benevolent enterprises 
of the Church. 

Had our brother been able to turn aside, for a time, 
from the frequent interruptions and the continued toil 
incident to a missionary's life, he would doubtless have 
given us a more finished picture of his mission field, and, 
on the whole, a more finely written book. But this 
could not be, and hence the work, as now presented, 
had to be written in detached portions and at irregular 
intervals, just as other duties would allow. A careful 
recasting of the AvhOle by an experienced editor might 
have improved the style, but could have added nothing 
to the force of the facts narrated. And as the presen- 
tation of these^ facts in a plain unvarnished style, for the 
information of the people and the good of the Mission, 
was the grand object had in view by the author, it has 
not been thought advisable to make any material 
changes in the original work, except to lop ofi" occasional 
redundancies, or to soften the tone of some of the de- 
scriptions that were thought likely to be offensive to 
good taste. Not that our author was wai;iting in taste, 
or that he was devoid of a proper appreciation of the 
chaste and the beautiful ; but so familiar had he become 
with those scenes of dissipation and vice, and so anxious 


was he to give a truthful description of the whole, that 
sometimes he overleaped the boundaries, -which, perhaps, 
an over-fastidious commuuitj have thrown around the 
pen of the author. 

The fact is, a full and perfect delineation of the 
Bedford Street Mission could not be written, or, if writ- 
ten, could not be read without a blush, or put in a book 
designed for general circulation without injuring its sale, 
and what is worse, injuring the morals of the com- 
munity. • 

But as far as our brother could do so without doing 
harm, the reader maj relj upon it, he has given us a 
faithful representation of facts, many of which are con- 
fessedly "stranger than fiction." 

And in the presentation of these stubborn facts, he 
has shown us that there exists in the very heart of this 
beautiful city, a district, which in point of moral turpi- 
tude and extreme degradation, can hardly be surpassed 
by any other in the world. He has shown us that right 
at our doors, and almost within the shadow of our 
churches, there are thousands of immortal beings that 
are just as degraded as the idolaters of India, or the 
Hottentots of Africa, and who will as certainly perish 
forever as they, unless they are reached by direct mis- 
sionary efibrt. He has shown us, too, that while the 
Young Men's Central Home Mission of the M. E. 


Church, under whose auspices he is now laboring, was 
organized by a noble little band of pious men and wo- 
men, who have till the present stood by it, they have 
been left by the gi-eat mass of Christians in this city, to 
drag along as best they could, under the weight of con- 
stant pecuniary embarrassment, and, as a consequence, 
constant discouragement. And that, too, while these 
same Christians were sending away thousands and tens 
of thousands of dollars annually, for the conversion of 
the heathen in foreign lands. How strangely inconsis- 
tent — to allow missions organized for the conversion of 
the heathen at our doors to languish and die for want 
of pecuniary support, while we are full of sympathy for 
those abroad ! But I suppose in this, as well as in some 
other things, "distance lends enchantment to the view," 
and the danger of a sinner is proportioned to the dis- 
tance he is removed from the observer. When will the 
church adopt right views upon this subject, and our 
home missionary enterprises receive the same sympathy 
that is now bestowed on foreign fields ? Not that we 
give too much abroad, but w6 do too little at home. In 
doing the one, the other should not be left undone. "We 
should remember that in the estimation of God, "He 
that provides not for his ozvn, and especially for his ow7i 
Jiousehold, hath denied the faith, and is worse than an 


Now this book is published for the special purpose 
of giving information concerning the "Bedford Street 
Mission" in this city; and whatever profit may arise 
from its sale will be devoted sacredly to the support of 
this Mission. While therefore you enjoy the pleasure 
afforded by its perusal, you will also have the additional 
satisfaction of knowing that you are contributing to the 
support of a most worthy cause. And I trust that such 
will be the sale of this book, and such the interest that 
it will wake up throughout the country in favor of the 
Bedford Street Mission ; that the poor will be induced to 
send in their mites, and the rich to contribute of their 
abundance, till the managers of the society shall be 
enabled to conduct their operations on a scale propor- 
tioned to the magnitude and importance of the work, 
and commensurate also with their largest desires, and 
most sanguine expectations. 

Then shall the "Five Points" of Philadelphia,— this 
moral plague-spot of our city, and this reproach to our 
land, be speedily renovated, and its desert wastes be 
made to "blossom as the rose." 

Philadelphia, September Ith, 1859. 




When I first entered upon my duties* as missionary 
in the "Five Points" of Philadelphia, my heart sunk 
within me. For, although I had seen hard service 
among rough men on the canals, where I used to preach 
and distribute tracts as a Colporteur, yet, when I looked 
upon the hundreds of drunken paupers with which I was 
here surrounded, and beheld the wretched hovels they 
lived in, and heard the awful language they used, I asked 
myself with deep emotion, " Who is sufficient for these 

I felt as though I was about to lead on a forlorn hope 

* The reader will observe that I commence with my personal expt 

rience in the Bedford St. Mission, which was about one year after its 

organization. For its early history, see chapter 51. 


42 sorrow's circuit. 

of forty young men and fifty Christian ladies, the zeal- 
ous supporters of the Mission, against a Citadel, the tak- 
injr of -which seemed to demand a standard-bearer of bet- 
ter courage, and of more zeal for God and fallen humanity 
than I possessed. But it vras whispered to my heart, 
*' The race is not always to the swift nor the battle to 
the strong;" and with this encouragement I went to my 
work, looking to God for Avisdom and for strength to aid 
me in the performance of my duty. 

At 10 A.M., on my first Sabbath, I preached to about 
a dozen hearers, white and colored, in an old shanty fif- 
teen by twenty-five feet in size, located on Bedford street. 
This house, small as it was, held our congregations 
and accommodated our Sabbath-school for some time. 
In the afternoon of the same day I went round into 
Baker street, just one square from the mission-house, 
and found there an abundance of just such wretched 
people as then filled Bedford, and SpafFord, and Sev- 
enth, and St. Mary's streets, and all the little filthy 
courts and yards in their vicinity. 

My reception in Baker street that first Sabbath was 
anything but flattering. 

After giving out,- and, with the aid of the lii-ethrcn 
around me, singing a hymn, I commenced praying ; but 
I had scarcely begun, when a scene occurred which com- 
pletely spoiled this part of our exercises. 


Some one having taken a large dog from Lis home in 
the vicinity of our meeting, had tied an old wash-kettle 
to his tail, and then started him homeward again. On 
he came with rail-road speed. On, too, came the crowd, 
close on the heels of the dog ; — men, women, boys, and 
girls, all eager to see the fun, and with their yelping, 
shouting, hurrahing, whistling, jumping, stamping, laugh- 
ing, &c., making the welkin ring. 

We, of course, ceased praying for the time, and waited 
a moment for the storm of excitement to pass by. One 
of the brethren having released the poor dog from his 
awkward position, and brought the tin kettle and placed 
it by my side, we commenced singing a hymn, deter- 
mined, if possible, to defeat the devil and his agents by 
holding this new accession to our congregation, — the 
people meanwhile stopping, and with open mouths and 
wondering eyes, looking to see what new scene had been 
introduced into the programme. 

The singing being over, I announced my text, prefac- 
ing my remarks thereon, by observing, that we had not 
come there to quarrel with any one about his religious 
opinions, as we had long since learned, that opinions 
were not religion; but we had come to do them good, 
and to try and persuade them to be Christians ; and, if 
we succeeded in this, we should then have accomplished 

44 sorrow's circuit. 

all that we contemplated in the establishment of this 

These conciliatory remarks were necessary to allay 
their prejudices, since some of my predecessors had 
given great offence by their unguarded remarks in relation 
to Popery, and had thereby brought down upon themselves 
a shower of dead cats and rats, interspersed with stones 
and brick-bats. My moderation saved me from similar 
assaults, and subsequently led the owner of the " Old 
Aster house," from which the before-named missiles had 
been thrown, to offer me his large yard as a preaching 
place. This offer, I, of course, gratefully accepted, and 
from that time till the present, whenever the weather 
would allow, we have been found on Sabbath afternoons, 
preaching in this yard to the drunken, the starving, and 
the naked, — as unsightly a congregation as ever a minis- 
ter addressed. And, I thank God, our labor has not 
been in vain ; for even in this wretched locality, the 
truth has been received, and precious souls have been 

But notwithstanding my introduction to the motley 
crowd in Baker street, on the afternoon of my first 
Sabbath in the mission, I was still at a loss to know 
how to acquaint the people of this sin-cursed district 
more generally with the object of my mission, and the 


design of my sojourn amongst them. An opportunity, 
however, soon offered itself. 

On the following day a poor drunkard died next door 
to the Mission-house. I proposed to preach a funeral 
sermon over him before his remains were borne away to 
their last resting place in the pauper's grave. This was 
something so new and unlooked for in this locality, that 
the poor creatures with great delight ran all round the 
neighborhood to tell it. When the hour arrived, there- 
fore, I was greeted with a large congregation, made up 
of persons of all sorts, sizes, colors, and conditions. I 
tried to make the services as impressive as possible, tak- 
ing for my text the pointed declaration of the Apostle 
in his Epistle to the Hebrews, "It is appointed unto 
men once to die, but after this the judgment." The 
sober part of my audience wept freely, while the drunken 
part, among whom was the wife of the deceased, only 
grunted assent to my pointed remarks. Whatever may 
have been the merit of this performance, it is but right 
that I should say it soon brought me plenty of work in 
the house of death ; — work, which I always perform with 
pleasure, because of the opportunity it affords me to do 
good to those miserably degraded creatures. 

While we were concluding our service with prayer, 
the agent employed by the overseer of the poor, came 
"with his rude cart, and white pine box, to bear away the 

46 soimow's circuit. 

remains of the deceased. He waited patiently for the 
conclusion of our prayer ; for we lingered long at the 
mercy-seat. We felt that we had hold of the horns of 
the altar, and that God was hearing and answering our 
petitions ; for the people were weeping and sobbing like 
children. The sight of those ragged drunken creatures, 
as they kneeled around me in the yard, deeply affected 
me, and as I turned away from them with an aching 
heart, I earnestly inquired, " Can these degraded 
wretches be saved?" xind as the response came back 
from the blessed Jesus, " All these are the purchase of 
my blood," and "though their sins be as scarlet they 
may be as white as snow, though they be red like crimson 
they may be as wool," I inwardly resolved, that, with 
the assistance of divine grace, I would do what I could 
to lead them to the Saviour. 

My next successful introduction to these outcasts was 
on the following day. A poor woman having fallen on 
the pavement in a drunken fit, I had her carried to the 
Mission-house, where we administered some remedies 
prescribed by the books, and at length succeeded in re- 
storing her to consciousness. As soon as she had suffi- 
ciently recovered from the effects of her debauch, we 
gave her some wholesome food, and directed the old colored 
woman, who had charge of the house, to remove her rags, 
give her a thorough washing, and clothe her anew in some 


garments which we had procured for the purpose at a 
neighboring Jew shop. Thus clothed and in her right 
mind again, we administered to her the pledge in the 
most solemn manner we could, and then sent her on her 
waj rejoicing. 

This occurrence brought me many subjects ; for the 
news spread abroad, that the new Missionary was practic- 
ing what he preached. My readers will say, " These 
people came because of the loaves and the fishes." 
True, but in getting food and clothing they got also the 
Gospel of Christ in all its plainness. 

On the second Sabbath we had a full house mornincr 
and evening, some of whom were so stupidly drunk that 
when we kneeled for prayer they were unable to rise 
again, but remained sleeping upon their knees till the 
close of the service, when they waked up considerably 

We never turn a man out of our meetings for being 
drunk. Indeed we give instructions to our friends, to 
bring all such into the church, if they will only behave 

My next successful advertisement of our mission was 
in Baker street. The subject was a tall fine looking 
white woman, about thirty years of age, whose dress and 
appearance indicated that she had not always resided in 
this wretched locality. Nor, indeed, had she, for, as I 

48 sorrow's circuit. 

subsequently learned from those who knew her connec- 
tions, she was a poor prodigal from one of the best fami- 
lies in this city. 

But such a wreck ! There she stood leaning against 
the door-post, too drunk to stand without a support, and 
bitterly weeping. 

But what think you she wept for ? Can you believe 
it, reader? This woman of commanding appearance, 
regular features, dark eyes, raven hair, and fine address, 
— ^this woman, who had been respectably educated, and 
might have passed in any society, wept because during 
her absence in prison, another woman had taken her 
place in the affections of an ugly negro ! 

"Well, G ," said I addressing her, "how are you? 

What's the matter with you ?" 

Raising her head slightly she responded, " Who's that 
that knows my name ?" 

"A friend," I replied, "that sympathizes with you, 
and wishes to help you out of your wretchedness." 

Here let me digress a little, and ask the reader to go 
with me for a moment, and take but a single glance at 
the filth and misery amid which we found this erring 
creature. Look through that window, if you please, 
that opens into the room against whose door she is lean- 
ing. Oh, horror of horrors ! A dozen persons in that 
single room, and they all drunk ! Men and women, half 


naked, mingled together indiscriminately, and covered 
with filth and vermin ! How disgusting the sight ! Let 
us hasten from the scene. No, pause a moment, and 
look in at that next door. The inmates here are not 
so drunk as the others, but they are drunk enough to 
cause them to make the place worse than Pandemonium 
itself. Such cursing, and coarse jesting, and rihaldry 
is enough almost to make one ashamed of his race, or at 
least to abandon such drunken, vulgar wretches to their 
fate. But no — duty compels us to remain with them. 
Here is our work, yes, right here ; and here we must re- 
main day after day, week after week, and month after 
month, until we are honorably discharged, or this desert 
waste is made to "blossom as the rose." 

" Yes, G , we are here to help you, and we will be 

your friends, if you will allow us. Come along with us, 
and leave at once this dreadful place." 

" I'll go with you anywhere, and go now, for this is 
hell on earth. I want to quit this way of living ; — I 
might as well be in perdition as here. But there is no 
hope for me." 

" yes, there is hope still. You are not too old to 
reform. You may yet be a respectable woman." 

We took her to the Magdalen Asylum, one of the no- 
ble institutions of our city of " brotherly love," where 

50 soimow's CIRCUIT. 

many a poor unfortunate female has been redeemed from 
obloquy and ruin. 

From this place, after a fcAv weeks, she went to reside 
with some of her relatives then living in the state of 
New York. Here she was thrown into respectable so- 
ciety, and surrounded with new associations and a new 
circle of friends. The result was, that in about a year 
from the date of her reform, she again stood in the pre- 
sence of the Missionary, accompanied by a fine looking 
gentleman, who desired to be united with her in "holy 
matrimony." Never before did I perform a marriage 
service with such a hearty good will ; and never did I 
pray more earnestly for the future happiness of a wed- 
ded pair. The ceremony being ended, with many thanks 
for my kindness, and with earnest prayers for my future 
success and happiness, the now happy pair left me to re- 
turn to their distant and quiet home in the country. 

So much for the influence of a few kind words ad- 
dressed to a poor infatuated woman, — the erring child 
of devoted and pious parents. " Sow thy seed in the 
morning, and in the evening withhold not thy hand ; for 
thou knowest not whether shall prosper this or that, or 
whether both shall be alike good." 

My next introduction was in the capacity of Doctor ; 
for, though I have no diploma, I, nevertheless, have to 
perform the part of a physician occasionally. And most 


happy am I when the cases presented are such as require 
but little skill in the practice of medicine. 

My first call was to see what could be done for a poor 
woman, whose skull had been fractured with the blow of 
a club in tKe hand of some drunken ruffian. Of course, 
I could do nothing here, nor the "Poor doctor" either. 
The woman died, but her murderer escaped. 

My next case was that of a man, who had been badly 
beaten, while engaged in a drunken row. He also died, 
while the murderer escaped. 

My third case was a more hopeful one, and in its 
treatment I was more successful. A poor woman had 
given birth to a child about eight o'clock in the morn- 
ing; but not being able to secure the services of a phy- 
sician,— it being a rule among the M.Ds. of this neigh- 
borhood not to prescribe for a patient without the pay- 
ment of fifty cents in advance, — this poor creature was 
left to sufi"er till after nightfall, when we administered to 
her a large bowl of catnip tea, when, lo and behold ! in 
half an hour, heir number two made Us appearance. 
This established me as Doctor Sewell without a diploma ; 
and on I went feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, 
healing the sick, and preaching the Gospel to the poor. 
And truly God most signally blessed this work. Our 
congregations steadily improved, so that our house of 
worship soon became too small for us, and we were 

52 sorrow's circuit. 

obliged to provide a more commodious place. This be- 
ing done, through divine aid and the benevolence of our 
friends, a protracted meeting was commenced, which con- 
tinued without intermission from the first Sunday in Sep- 
tember till the last Friday in March. And during all 
those intervening months, we were never without one or 
more penitents at our rude "mourner's bench," earnestly 
seeking the salvation of their souls ; and scores who thus 
sought found the "pearl of great price,"and were made 
happy in Redeeming love. Some of them have since 
died in the Lord, and gone up to join in the songs of 
the blood-washed throng that encircle the throne of God, 
while others have become respectable citizens and useful 
members of tiie Church of Christ. "Not unto us, 
God, not unto us, but unto thy great name he all the 
glory r 




During my first summer in the Bedford Street Mis- 
sion, there was a great deal of sickness — many cases 
resembling the Asiatic Cholera. Within two squares of 
the Mission-house, I counted thirty deaths in thirty 
days, the subjects having all the appearance of those 
who died with the plague in 1832, when it first visited 
Philadelphia, and when more than a hundred were daily 
borne by it to their long home. 

In my visits to the dying I more than once met the 
Roman Catholic Priest. He came to give " extreme 
unction," and I, a little of "Doctor Aaron Comfort's 
Cholera Mixture." This he gave me free of charge, in 
any quantity I desired. I found it to be a first rate arti- 
cle that never failed to give relief when taken in time. 

Now I hope my Allopathic and Homeopathic friends, 
the doctors, will not get mified at me, for I use a little 
of all their medicines. I am a sort of Eclectic in my 

64 sorrow's circuit. 

practice, using with caution such remedies as I know 
are safe, in ''cases where a regular Physician either can- 
not or ivill not come. 

On one occasion as I was passing along Spafford 
street near Baker, I was called into a house where a 
man and woman were thought to be dying with Cholera. 
On entering I found them both very ill indeed, cold on 
the surface, with cramps and stupor, accompanied with 

On examination I found that I had no medicine on 
hand. I, therefore, hastened with all possible speed to 
Doctor Comfort's Store in Market street, to obtain a 
supply, which was cheerfully granted me. With this I 
returned as quickly as possible to the bed-side of the 
sick, hoping that I might yet be able to save them. 
But on entering the house I found the man already 
dead, and the woman, though still alive, suffering very 
greatly. To her I administered my remedy by rule, 
and, as the result, had the satisfaction of seeing her sit- 
ting up in the evening. Leaving some medicine and the 
necessary direction for its use, and cautioning her par- 
ticularly against the use of any other stimulant, espe- 
cially whiskey, I left her for the night 

But when I called in the morning, I found her down 
again, and suffering a good deal of pain. On looking 
round, I soon saw the cause of the relapse, in the pre- 


Bence of an empty -wLiskey bottle which sat upon the 

"What!" said I, "have you been drinking that stuff? 
If so, you need not take any more of my medicine, for 
the two will not agree together." Strychnine and whis- 
key are synonimous terms. Only think of Nux Vomica 
being deposited in large doses in the stomach of one 
who was nearly dead yesterday ! 

But I could not make her and her associates believe, 
that there was the least harm in taking a " wee dthrap of the 
crathm-." She, however, took it in large doses. I called 
at noon, and found her worse. At 2 o'clock I called 
again, and just as I was entering, the Romish priest 
came in for the first time, dressed in his peculiar stylo, 
and ready, I suppose, to perform the last offices of his 
religion to the dying woman. But will you believe it, 
reader, this sanctimonious priest, this good man, who 
neither gave bread to the hungry, nor medicine to the 
sick, turned me out of the house, and shut the door in 
my face, and presently sent after me the rest of the 
family ? 

"What he did in our absence, or what he did not, I, 
of course, do not pretend to know with certainty. 

I suppose, however, in accordance with the rules of 
his church, he first " confessed her," that is, he received 
her confession of the fact that she had been a great sin- 

56 sorrow's circuit. 

ner, and needed much cleansing to fit her for heaven. 
And well she might confess, for, to my certain know- 
ledge, she was possessed of more than seven devils, and 
first among them vras the Rum Devil. And do you not 
think, kind reader, that this little priest must have had 
a stout heart to attack so many devils, and he all 
alone? But he, you know, claims to be the vicegerent 
of God, and can therefore drive out the devils at plea- 
sure, and open the door of heaven to whomsoever he 

So, I suppose, after receiving the confession of this 
woman, and exorcising her evil spirits, he absolved her 
from all her sins, gave her extreme unction and holy 
anointing for her burial, and then pronounced her all 
right for heaven, except a few sin-marks that would 
have to be removed by a brief stay in the fires of Pur- 

Thus we found her at 4 P. M. I was not permitted 
to give her any more medicine, for she had received the 
last sacrament which the Church of Eome administers, 
and now she must die, or else there would be confusion 
in the Creed. 

The dying woman had in her right hand a burning 
candle, which was held erect by the hand of a brother. 
Presently a female entered, and asked, "Who is that 


Candle?" meaning, to what saint had it been dedicated? 
She was answered, " Queen Mary." 

"Are there no more candles?" she inquired. Another 
was produced, which was said to be " St. Elizabeth." 
This being lighted, was placed in the other hand, and 
held erect by another brother. A prayer-book was next 
called for by the officiating lady, which, after a long 
search, was found and placed in her hands. I thought 
of some of our Bibles, whether they would not also be 
hard to find sometimes. 

And now all was ready for the departure of the dying 
woman. The candles, I suppose, were intended to light 
up her passage through " the dark valley of the shadow 
of death." 

I thought that I should want a better light than tallow 
candles can give when I came to die. yes, I shall 
want the reflections from the sun-lit countenance of my 
dear Redeemer to illuminate my pathway through the 
valley of death. 

The pious lady above referred to, then commenced 
running over " the prayers for the dying" with the 
rapidity of a proof reader of a thirtieth edition^ or of a 
Rail-road train, when the conductor is behind time. 
But rapidly as the prayers were being read, the spirit 
of the poor woman had fled before they were concluded. 

68 sorrow's circuit. 

And now all was over, and, according to the teachings 
of Popery, this woman, bad as she had been in life, and 
drunken as she had been even in death, had only to stop 
for a brief period in the fires of Purgatory, and then pass 
on safely to the Paradise of God, the home of the pure 
and the good. 

Fatal delusion ! to suppose that the prayers and man- 
ipulations of the priest, and the fires of a mythical 
purgatory, can do for us that which can only be done by 
the all-cleansing blood of Christ ! 

On another occasion, the priest and your humble 
servant met in a cellar over a dying woman. But we 
were both too late to be of any service to her ; for her 
struggles indicated that Death's work was already well 
nigh done. 

The Priest pettishly inquired why they had sent for 
him at so late a period ; gave me a scowling look, as 
much as to say, " You meddling heretic, what are you 
here for?" — And then turned away, without even ad- 
ministering a word of rebuke to the drunken woman that 
occupied the same wretched room, or leaving a loaf of 
bread to satisfy the hunger of the starving children of the 
now dying mother. 

This kind of work was beneath his cloth, and could 
safely be left to the Missionary sent there by the heretics 


of the "Young Men's Central Home Mission;" lie 
caring but little who fed or clothed the people, so that 
they remained in allegiance "with the Holy Catlwlic 
Cliiirch, and entrjisted to Mm the care of their souls and 
their money. 

60 sorrow's circuit. 



During the progress of our meeting one evening, I 
observed in the congregation a fine-looking young woman, 
whose heart seemed to have been touched by the Divine 

On approaching her, and inquiring concerning her 
state of mind and her place of residence, I learned that 
she was an inmate of one of those wretched drinking 
houses, with which this place abounds. On the following 
day I went to the place designated in pursuit of her, to 
see if I could not induce her to go to a place where she 
would have an opportunity to reform. On entering, I 
found the room full of respectably-dressed women, sur- 
rounded with ale and porter bottles, the contents of 
which they were freely drinking. Some were already 
quite drunk, and the most of the others seemed to be in 
a fair way to occupy the same position very soon. 

On learning the object of my visit, they assailed me in 


no very polite terms, cursing me to my face for attempt- 
ing to interfere with them or their friends, while in- 
dulging in their sensual enjoyments. 

I however paid no attention to their abuse or their 
threats, but continued to plead with my fair auditor, and 
urge her to leave at once that den of vice. After much 
persuasion, she at length consented to go with me to the 
Magdalen Asylum, and I turned away to seek a jpermit 
for her admission. 

As I left the door a brewer's dray drove up, and left 
in that very house a fresh supply of that sensualizing 
beverage that had already degraded its unhappy inmates. 
As I passed the dray, I read on its side the name of the 
brewer, and the place of his establishment, but thought 
no more of the matter for the time being. On I went in 
pursuit of the Managers of the Reformatory Institution, 
anxious only to secure the safety of my valuable prize. 
Finding at length the Secretary of the Board, I was 
directed to go to Mr. A. B. C, a very kind-hearted and 
benevolent man, who might be found at his ofSce, and 
would doubtless gladly give me the desired permit. I 
hastened, therefore, to the place designated, to obtain 
from this very good man a passport to a place of safety 
for my poor penitent. 

But whom think you I beheld when I got there? 
Could I be in the right place ? 

62 sorrow's circuit. 

Yes, the number is right, and the name is also right. I 
cannot be mistaken. This is the identical spot from 
■which the brewer's dray came, and Mr. A. B. C. is the 
owner of this establishment for the manufacture of 
porter, ale, and beer. Through this extensive brewery 
I was sent in pursuit of its benevolent owner. 

But I did not succeed in finding him, for the employees 
were all too busy to give me any directions or to pay 
much attention to me. 

What an inconsistency ! thought I, as I left the build- 
ing. Here is a man, who is an officer in a benevolent 
institution, and who gives a hundred dollars a year to 
aid in reforming women, who are made wicked, and whose 
vices are promoted and strengthened from day to day, 
by the very business in which he is constantly engaged, 
— the manufacture and sale of intoxicating drinks. 

Reader, have you any thing to say in extenuation of 
this man's guilt? "What apology can you offer for the 
man, who, to enrich himself, will send down to Bedford 
street the drunkard-making drug to enervate the bodies, 
weaken the minds, and destroy the virtue of weak women, 
and thus prepare them for the reformatory process at a 
heavy expense to the benevolent? 

" consistency, thou art a jewel." 

Is it any wonder, in view of such facts, that notwith- 
stantling the Herculean efforts put forth constantly by our 


society, aided, as it is, by Sabbatli and day schools, and 
by a Missionary who is constantly employed, there is so 
little apparent change for the better in this beer-com- 
mencing and whiskey-finishing community ? 

Need we wonder that here, in the immediate vicinity 
of our Mission-house, we still have bottles, bottles, bot- 
tles, kegs, kegs, kegs, barrels, barrels, barrels eternally 
without number or end ; and at every turn brewers' 
drays and bottler's wagons running and rattling, accom- 
panied with the chorus of buttermilk, hot corn, crabs, and 
pepper-pot, and the whole slightly improved with the 
deeper chorus of oysters, seabass, and stui'geon, mak- 
ing the welkin ring with hideous noise ; that we have the 
scene interspersed here and there with a grand set-to, a 
la Hyer or Sullivan, or despising the rules of the pugil- 
istic ring, a regular rough and tumble fight, the crowd 
crying, " Stand back and give fau' play," the boys hur- 
rahing, the women laughing, the men swearing, and the 
combatants bleeding, muddy, and ragged ? 

Need we wonder that these scenes are here repeated 
day after day in all their disgusting details, when with a 
few pennies these wretched beings can purchase at 
" humpell-backed Jimmie's" or some other low gi'oggery, 
a few glasses of '"''Pale ale" from my friend's hreioery^ 
or a little of something stronger from the distillery of 
Mr. C. A , an honorable gentleman, a member of a 


most estimable family, all of vrhom are regular commu- 
nicants in the Rev. Mr. B.'s cliurch; the son of a worthy 
sire, who, notwithstanding his long connection with the 
still, and the ruinous results of his business, lately died 
in peace within the bosom of the church ; and the brother 
of one who maintains the dignity of his father's house 
and of the state as a representative in the National Leg- 
islature at "Washington? While indeed this pauper- 
making and soul-destroying business is carried on and 
upheld by such persons, and is recognized by the better 
part of the community as an honorable calling, what 
can we "expect from the poor wretches in Baker and Bed- 
ford streets ? 

But these respectable brewers and distillers will quiet 
their consciences by replying, that the products of their 
manufactories are used for mechanical and medicinal 
purposes, and that they are not responsible for the abuse 
of articles so useful, and, indeed, so indispensably neces- 

f This reply may possibly satisfy them now, and tend 
to quiet their fears, but what will they say when they 
come to stand in judgment before that God who now 
looks right down into their hearts, and who kifows per- 
fectly the motives by which they are influenced ? 

"But the Judgment is not yet." No, thank God, it 
is not yet. And well it is for those engaged in the man- 


ufacture of intoxicating drinks that it is so. For if it 
is true, as the Bible asserts, that " no drunkard shall in- 
herit the kingdom of heaven," what will be the doom of 
that man, who, for the sake of gain, carries on a busi- 
ness, that results in the ruin of thousands and tens of 
thousands, both for time and eternity ? 

But independently of considerations that relate to the 
future world, let every man engaged in the business, and 
every apologist of the traffic, reflect seriously upon its 
results, in the present, upon every department of human 
society. And to aid you in these reflections, let me ask 
you to carefully read the following testimony on this 
subject, given before a special committee of the Canada 
Legislature by Rowland Burr, Esq., of Toronto. 

Mr. Burr, being interrogated with regard to the effects 
of the unrestricted use of intoxicating liquors, and the 
only remedy against the evils produced thereby, said: 
" 1st. I believe the morals of the public are greatly in- 
jured by the use of intoxicating liquors. My experience 
as a Justice of the Peace and Jail Commissioner for 
nearly twenty years, shows that nine out of ten of the 
male prisoners, and nineteen out of twenty of the female 
prisoners, have been brought there by intoxicating 
liquor. I have visited the jails from Quebec to Sand- 
wich through the length and breadth of Canada, and 
I have personally examined nearly 2,000 prisoners in the 

66 , sorrow's circuit. 

jails, of whom t-wo-thirds -were males and one-third fe- 
males ; they nearly all signed a petition that I presented 
to them for a Maine Liquor Law, many of them stating 
that it was their only hope of being saved from utter 
ruin, unless they could go wliere intoxicating liquors 
were not sold. 

" I examined the jailers' books, wherein they all kept 
a record of the number of persons, their age, country, 
and occupations, and their crime, also whether they 
were brought there by the use of intoxicating liquors. 
In four years there were 25,000 prisoners in the jails, 
and it appeared from the records that 22,000 of that 
number had been brought there by intoxicating liquors, 
and 1 believe, from the 1,000 whom I examined, that 
24,000 out of the 25,000 would never have been there had 
it not been for the liquor trade and licence law. I have 
the record now before me, kept by myself, of the liquor 
dealers of Yonge street, for 54 years past, 100 in num- 
ber, and I will mention the abstract of the record, viz., 

Number of ruined drunkardsin the 100 families 214 

Loss of property once owned in real estate £58,700 

Number of Widows left 46 

" Orphans 235 

Sudden deaths 44 

Suicides publicly known 13 

Number of premature deaths by drunkenness 203 

Murders 4 


Executions 3 

Number of years of human life lost by drunkenness 1,915 

"I have been acquainted with these 100 families, and 
I have kept written records of them, for the purpose of 
printing them, leaving out the names. 

" 2d. The remedy, and the only remedy in human 
power is a Prohibitory Law. 

"In this opinion I am supported by the report of the 
committee of thirty-nine of the most illustrious members 
of the British House of Commons, commending such a 
law after sitting in committee during three months, and 
taking evidence from judges, sheriffs, mayors, jailers, 
magistrates, naval and military officers, from all parts of 
England. The report of the committee occupies nearly 
600 pages, mostly of evidence of such a black character 
as I never saw before. 

" I am also supported by the testimony of thousands 
of persons wishing in their sober moments to refrain, but 
when the liquor is within their reach, the sight, taste, or 
smell of it overcomes all good desires, and they are 

" 3d. I believe the people of Canada are prepared to 
sustain a Prohibitory Liquor Law. In the towns and 
cities there would be difficulty and labor at first ; but in 
the city of Toronto there is a sufficient number of Pro- 
hibitory Law men to fairly support such a law if we had 

68 sorrow's circuit. 

it ; but it must be a strong one. If the law is mystified, 
and not clear so that all could understand it, it would 
then fail. But give us a clear, strong, sensible law, and 
I have no fear but that in 20 years the Government 
Would be out of debt most assuredly, and not one pauper 
or prisoner to where there are now ten. Some years ago 
when there was a bill before the House for a Maine Li- 
quor Law, there were 180,000 persons petitioned for it, 
and I have no doubt that two-thirds of the householders 
are in favour of it now." 

Read, also, the following statistics of the "Cost of 
crime produced by intemperance," taken from a speech 
delivered in England on the " Permissive Bill" by the 
Rev. J. W. Kir ton, and reported in the New York Pro- 
hibitionist : 

" On Monday, March 21, 1859, the Rev. J. W. Kirton 
delivered a lecture in the Town Hall, on the Permissive 
Bill. N. Worsdall, Esq., stated that the committee were 
preparing to canvass the town regarding the Permissive 
Bill ; and he showed the necessity of legislative interfer- 
ence with a traffic which yielded such fearful and start- 
ling results, as exhibited in the following statistical re- 
turns : London police reports stated that 30,000 persons 
were taken up yearly dead drunk. 60,000 more were 
noticed as sadly overcome with liquor, but not taken up. 
, 50,000 persons were engaged as brewers and distillers 


throughout the land. Seven or eio-ht confirmed drunk- 
ards died every hour. In 1858, in England and Wales, 
for the support of the poor alone, a sum equal to a tax 
upon every man, woman, and child, of 5s, 3f d. was ex- 
pended. In 1858 there were in the workhouses 124,879 
persons, and outside 792,205 out-door paupers. The to- 
tal number of persons existing in whole or in part upon 
the industry of the people was 917,084, or nearly one 
million to twenty millions of the population. 17,666 
boys and 17,416 girls, or 35,082 children were being 
brought up paupers, and habituated to public support. 
Under the care of the Poor Law Commissioners there 
were 27,693 pauper lunatics ; of these 10,000 were 
idiots. The cost of the pauper lunatics alone was X480,- 
286. The cost of prisoners in Pentonville prison was 
^15,000 annually ; the number of prisoners, 1,054. 
In Millbank, 667 prisoners, costing £38,000. In Park- 
hurst, 424 prisoners, costing ,£12,000. In Portland, 1,- 
605, costing X33,000. In Portsmouth, 1,019, costing 
£32,000. In Dartmoor, 934, costing £35,000. In 
Chatham, 649, costing £37,000. In Buxton, 921, 
costing £16,000. In Fulham, 187, costing £5,630. In 
the hulks, 485, costing £12,000. So that the total num- 
ber of prisoners in these places, irrespective of all those 
in prison in county and borough gaols, was 7,840, which 
cost the nation £255,000, or nearly a quarter of a million 

70 sorrow's circuit. 

sterling, including the counties. In these returns there 
■were nearly 15,000 prisoners, costing close upon <£500,- 
000. The Governor of Newgate said a few years ago, 
that of every 100 prisoners brought in, 99 came in 
through intemperance. Dr. Ellis, a competent authority 
on lunacy, stated that out of twenty-six prisoners who 
through derangement had become inmates of asylums, 
twenty owed it to drunkenness. Mr. Kirton delivered 
an interesting lecture, and when the vote pro and eon 
was taken at the close, the whole audience voted for it ; 
one solitary hand being held up against it, apparently 
more in jest than earnest." — Oor. 





Soon after the organization of our Mission, the ques- 
tion of, What can we do for the children ? became an 
absorbing one, and led to the appointment of a commit- 
tee, who were instructed to look out for an eligible room 
which we could use for a Sabbath-school, and in which 
"we could continue to hold preaching and prayer-meet- 
ings, when the inclemency of the weather should drive 
us from the preaching stations on the streets. 

After a thorough search through Baker, Spafford, and 
Bedford streets, the committee reported that only one 
building could be obtained. This was an old dilapidated 
frame building in Bedford street, then used as a recep- 
tacle for old bones, and rags, &c. But so forbidding 
was the aspect of the building, and so noisome the 
stench arising from the putrefying bones and rotting 
rags, that it was thought it would endanger the health 
of those who might attempt to occupy it. 

* Written by a Member of the Board of Managers. 

72 sorrow's circuit. 

However, having become responsible for the rent, it 
■was agreed to try the effect of scraping, scrubbing, white- 
washing, and a liberal use of Chloride of Lime. This 
was attended with such good effects, that, notwithstand- 
ing the place was still offensive to the olfactories, the 
managers concluded to open in it our first Sabbath- 

No difficulty was experienced in gathering in a suffi- 
cient number of children to compose a school, for ex- 
cited by such a novel spectacle as a Sabbath-school in 
Bedford street, they came in crowds. But such a Sab- 
bath-school, as that first one was, was beyond all doubt 
the rarest thing of the kind that any of the good brethren 
interested had ever before witnessed. The jostling, tum- 
bling, scratching, pinching, pulling of hair, little ones 
crying, and larger ones punching each other's heads, 
and swearing most profanely, — altogether formed a 
scene of confusion and riot that disheartened the teach- 
ers in the start, and made them begin to think that they 
had undertaken a fruitless task. 

As to the appearance of these young Ishmaelites, it 
was obvious that they were badly off for soap : — hands, 
feet, and faces, exhibited a uniform crust of mud and filth ; 
while the tangled haii', of that indescribable hue known 
as sunburnt, gave unmistakable indications of the exis- 
tence of a busy multitude whose haunts had never been 


disturbed by any instrument more formidable than finger 

As it was necessary to obtain order, the Superinten- 
dent, remembering that " Music hath charms to soothe 
the savage breast," decided to try its effects on the un- 
tamed group before him ; and giving out a line of a 
hymn adapted to the popular tune of "Lilly Dale," — 
he commenced to sing it. The effect was instantaneous. 
It was as oil on the troubled waters. The delighted 
youngsters listened to the first line, and then joined in 
with such hearty good will that the old shanty rang 

The attempt to engage and lead them in prayer was, 
however, a matter of greater difficulty. They seemed 
to regard the attitude of kneeling as very amusing, and 
were reluctant to commit themselves so far to the ridi- 
cule of their companions as to be caught in such a pos- 

After reading to them a portion of the Holy Scrip- 
tures, and telling them of Jesus, they were dismissed, 
greatly pleased with their first visit to a Sabbath-school. 

As for ourselves, we also had received a lesson. We 
found, what indeed we had expected, that the poor chil- 
dren were very ignorant ; but we also found what we did not 
expect, namely, such an acute intelligence, and aptitude 
to receive instruction, as admonished us of the danger 


of leaving them to grow up under evil influences, to be- 
come master spirits in crime, and pests to society. 

Many of the faces that we had just seen were very 
expressive, indeed painfully so. Some of them seemed 
to exhibit an unnatural and premature development of 
those passions whose absence makes childhood so attrac- 

Hunger ! aye, its traces were also plainly written 
there. It is painful to see the marks of hunger on the 
human face ; but to see the cheek of childhood blanched 
by famine — to behold the attenuated limbs, and the 
bright wolfish eyes, ah ! that is a sight. 

Come not near it, ye children of Luxury, lest ye feel 
disquieted in your minds ; — lest the sight be to you like 
"the fingers of a man's hand on the wall," writing that 
" you are weighed in the balances and are found want- 
ing," in that you have literally taken the children's bread 
and east it to your dogs. 




The following article appeared in our Mission Journal 
for March, and from it we take the liberty of transferring 
it to our pages : 

From the time of the organization of the Sunday- 
school of the " Young Men's Central Home Mission," 
the teachers and those laboring with them were aware that 
most of their scholars were spending their time through 
the week amid associations calculated to destroy the ef- 
fect of the Sabbath's teachings. They believed that some- 
thing more must be done, if the end was gained, which 
they were seeking. 

A day school was proposed, in which the children 
might receive instruction suited to their peculiar circum- 
stances. But very many difficulties were in the way. 
The expenses of the Mission already exceeded the con- 
tributions of those, whose sympathies were enlisted in the 

76 sorrow's circuit. 

The selection of a teacher too was a matter of great 
moment. It was deemed important to secure one pos- 
sessing a true Missionary Spirit, — one who felt the bur- 
den of souls upon her heart. 

Then it was, by many, thought to be unsafe for a lady 
to remain in this locality alone, even though a suitable 
one should offer. 

These obstacles were all thoughtfully and prayerfully 
considered; but believing the work to be of God, and 
that his blessing would attend it, — they ventured to 
bring the matter before the Board of Managers in the 
month of March 1854. This resulted in the election of 
a teacher ; — and on the following Sabbath an invitation 
was extended to the children to meet the teacher on 
the next morning in the same building at nine o'clock. 

On the second of April, about thirty neglected little 
ones came from alleys and lanes around the mission, and 
were found waiting when the hour for school arrived. 
But when admitted, very few of them had any conception 
of the purpose for which they were collected. The 
efforts of the teacher to seat them proved a failure. The 
prevailing idea seemed to be, that each one should take 
some part in amusing the company. One would jump 
from the back of the bench upon which he had been 
seated, while others were creeping upon the floor; — 
another, who deemed himself a proficient in turning 


somersets, would be trying his skill in this way ; while 
his neighbor equally ambitious, would show the teacher 
how he could stand on his head. Occasionally they would 
pause and listen to the singing of a hymn, or the reading 
of a little story ; — then all would be confusion again. 
And thus the morning wore away. 

The first session having closed, the teacher retired to 
her home, feeling that a repetition of the scenes through 
which she had passed could scarcely be endured. 

Two o'clock found her again at the door, and the 
children soon gathered around her. Upon entering the 
school-room, most of them were induced to be seated, 
and a hymn was sung which they had learned in the 
Sabbath-school. When it was finished the question was 
asked, "Shall we pray?" With one accord they an- 
swered, "Yes." "And will you be quiet?" They 
again replied in the ajQirmative. 

All were then requested to be silent and cover their 
faces. In this posture they remained until the prayer 
was closed, and after resuming their seats, for some 
minutes, order was preserved. This was the only en- 
couraging circumstance of the day. 

For many weeks a stranger would scarcely have re- 
cognized a school in this disorderly gathering, which, day 
after day, met in the old gloomy building. Very many 

78 sorrow's circuit. 

difficulties, wliicli we may not name, were met and con- 

Fights were of common occurrence. A description of 
one may give the reader an idea of what frequently came 
under our notice: 

A rough boy about fourteen years of age, over whom 
some influence had been gained, was chosen monitor one 
morning ; and as he was a leader in all the mischief, it 
was hoped that putting him upon his honor would assist 
in keeping order. Talking aloud was forbidden. For a 
i|w minutes matters progressed charmingly, until some 
one'"Hred of the restraint broke silence. The monitor 
feeling the importance of his position, and knowing of 
but one mode of redress, instantly struck him a violent 
blow upon the ear, causing him to scream with pain. In 
a moment the school was one scene of confusion, the 
friends of each boy taking sides ; and before tbB cause 
could be ascertained, most of the boys were piled upon 
each other in the middle of the room, creating sounds 
altogether indescribable. The teacher realizing; that she 
was alone, and not well understanding her influence, 
feared for a moment to interfere ; but as matters were 
growing worse, something must be done. She made an 
effort to gain the ear of the monitor, and asked why he 
did so ? He, confident of being in the right, replied : 


" Teacher, he didn't mind you : he spoke, and I 
licked him. And I'll do it again, if he don't mind you." 

His services of course were no longer required. Many 
other incidents of a novel character might be narrated 
in connection with the early history of the school. 

Commencing with thirty pupils and one teacher, the 
number has gradually increased until more titan tivo hun- 
dred are now daily receiving instruction in our Mission- 
school from three young ladies, whose hearts are in the 

We are constantly admitting children of the most 
degraded class ; — yet we have always in attendance 
enough well-trained scholars to give character to the 
school, which we think will not suffer by comparison 
with the schools around us. 

In connection with the elementary branches of an 
English education, strict attention is paid to the moral 
culture of the children, the teacher endeavoring to be- 
come acquainted with the peculiar vices into which they 
have fallen, and also the habits of their parents, that 
they may be able to suit their instruction to each indi- 
vidual case. 

"We are careful to admit none to our schools, but those 
whose poverty excludes them from the public schools. 
This may not be understood by every reader. 

They come to us without shoes, ragged and dirty, 

80 sorrow's circuit. 

just as tliey leave the garret or cellar in which they 

To provide clothing and shoes for those under our 
care is no small task. This has been undertaken by a 
society of ladies, called the "Ladies' Central Home Mis- 
sion," who meet once a week to make garments for the 
children, and who depend upon the contributions of the 
benevolent around them for sustenance in this depart- 
ment of the work of the Mission. 

Dark days have at times spread a gloom over our 
work, and to some it seemed as thou2;h our school-room 
must be closed ; but the prayer of faith has gone to a 
throne of grace, and answers have been sent, our neces- 
sities have been met, and we still trust in God who has 
the hearts of all men in his hand. And we believe that 
he will continue to incline those who have much of this 
world's goods to remember us in our great work among 
the children and their parents. 

" Here we come to search the Scriptures, 

Here our off' rings, too, we briug, 
That the wilderness may blossom, 

And the desert places sing ; 
That the many now iu darkness 

May arise to light divine, 
And the Gospel, in its brightness, 

O'er the darken'd earth may shine." 





Before dismissing the subject of our day-school, the 
reader, who has been so deeply interested by the ac- 
count given of its origin and success in the last chapter, 
will not, I am sure, object to the insertion of the follow- 
ing plea for its support taken from the "Journal" of 
July 1859. The writer says: 

The preaching of the Gospel is the chief instrumen- 
tality which God employs to save man from the power 
and dominion of sin ; to rescue him from nature's dark- 
ness, and introduce him into the marvelous light of the 
kingdom of his dear Son. But in order that the preach- 
ing of the Gospel may have its desired influence upon 
mankind, the cultivation of the mind ought at the same 
time to be kept constantly in view. While education — 
strictly so considered — cannot convert the soul, yet in 
connection with religion, it may be made highly condu- 

82 sorrow's circuit. 

cive to the best interests of humanity. In fact, educa- 
tion ought ever to be considered as the handmaid to 
'piety, and in this associate capacity it is invaluable. In 
accordance with this principle, we find education incor- 
porated with every missionary enterprise, and cultivated 
in every field of labor into which Protestants have 

When Bedford Street Mission was first organized, the 
recovery of the sinner from the error of his ways was 
the momentous object which engrossed our attention; 
and to efi"ect this, street preaching, and visiting from 
house to house were very properly regarded as the great 
desiderata. The Gospel of the Son of God was thus 
brought to the doors of many who had never before 
heard its saving truths ; and through the blessing of the 
Almighty, many a backslider was arrested in his down- 
ward course, many a devotee of Catholicism had the 
vail removed from his darkened understanding, and 
many, oh ! how many, had the happiness to find a long 
neglected Saviour in their last extremity, and died ex- 
ulting in the mercy of a gracious God. 

Glorious as these results were, it was soon discovered 
tha,t we were not fully carrying out the objects of our 
mission ; that there was needed the employment of other 
instrumentalities ; tHat other means should be brought 
to bear against the young recruits of Satan, who were 


hourly advancing to fill up the ranks of those who had 
been reclaimed, or had fallen a prey to their vicious 
propensities. In the moral, as well as in the physical 
world, the stream, if pure, must be made so at the foun- 
tain head. If lasting good is to be expected from mis- 
sionary enterprise, the young must be sought out, they 
must be carefully trained to understand the high and 
holy obligations resting upon them as rational intelli- 
gences. This additional burthen, it was felt, must be 
taken up. Inadequate as our resources were, the ex- 
pense must be borne, the labor must be accomplished ; 
and although many trembled to assume the responsi- 
bility, yet trusting upon the arm of Jehovah, the trial 
was made, and success has so far crowned our efforts. 

A school-room has been erected in connection with 
our place of worship, capable of accommodating three 
hundred children. These children, so dirty and ragged 
that they cannot be admitted into the public schools of 
our city, receive adequate instruction in the ordinary 
branches of an English education, together with the 
most careful inculcation of the fundamental doctrines of 
our holy Christianity, untrammeled by any sectarian 
code, and unfettered by any narrow minded proselytism ; 
and we venture to assert that they are as humanely 
dealt with, as tenderly cared for as the most favored 
childi'en in our land. A vast amount of good has been 

84 sorrow's circuit. 

already accomplished in this department. Many have 
been taken from the haunts of vice and dissipation, and 
placed in good homes in the country, far from former 
associations ; and all have impressed upon their young 
hearts the blessed truths of the Gospel of Christ, that 
never shall be effaced, but will bring forth their legiti- 
mate fruit to the glory of our common Lord. 

It must, however, be conceded that the burthen rests 
heavily upon the Mission. On several occasions we 
have been almost brought to a stand-still ; but by the 
good providence of God, have hitherto been supported. 
When nearly bankrupt last spring, by the kindness of 
several of the Society of Friends, we were furnished 
with nearly one thousand dollars, which supplied our 
then pressing wants, and enabled us to float off, rejoic- 
ingly, with our happy crew. An enterprise so fraught 
with good to the community should not be allowed to 
languish for want of funds. We need not merely a sup- 
ply of twelve hundred dollars per annum to meet our 
wants in the contracted scale in which we are now 
operating ; but we want reliable resources which will 
warrant us in enlarging our sphere of action, and to 
bring under the fostering care of our Mission, not a part 
only, but the whole of the children in that densely popu- 
lated but much neglected neighborhood. Those of us 
who are engaged in this good work should not require 


to be reminded of our dutj to these suffering outcasts. 
A stroll through the neighborhood, a few visits to these 
dens of want and ignorance, ought to be sufficient incen- 
tives to us, more especially when wo trace our steps to 
the school-room, and see those worse than orphans dili- 
gently engaged in receiving instruction from their con- 
siderate teachers, and amid all their rags and squalor, 
giving evidence— many of them— of no common share 
of personal beauty and intelligence. Indeed, the scene 
is so affecting, the prospects of good so favorable, that 
we sometimes wish it was in accordance v/ith the arrange- 
ments of Providence that we had large means to expend 
in this noble charity. 

It may be there are some who can scarcely credit the 
statements we publish from time to time. They suppose 
we draw largely upon the credulity of the public, that 
our representations are over-strained. To such we say 
the Bedford Street Mission is no myth, it is a sober 
reality. The statements made are the naked truth, and 
require no dressing up to attract attention or sympathy. 
All we desire is that people would come and see for 
themselves, and they will readily conclude that "the 
half 'has not been told them" of the sin and misery of 
^^ /Sorrow's Circuit." Our school will re-open in Sep- 
tember ; the teachers will be upon the spot ; the Mis- 
sionary is constantly at his post ; and every facility will 

86 sorrow's circuit. 

be afforded to ladies and gentlemen ■n'lio desire to be- 
come conversant with the workings of the Mission. "VYe 
do not merely desire that they take a cursory glance at 
the neighborhood, and see the school in its holiday 
dress. We are anxious that they dive into the cellars, 
climb up into the garrets, navigate the alleys and courts, 
visit the abodes of the sick and the dying, and then let 
conscience speak, and the claims of the Mission, we are 
assured, will not be disregarded. 





The following article appeared in our Monthly Journal 
of April, and is wortliy of preservation in some more 
permanent form: 

" What an anomaly among the harmonies of the uni- 
verse is a melancholy child!" And yet in our experi- 
ence among the little ones of Bedford street, how many 
such we meet ! Children with whom the holy influences 
of home are as unknown as is the nature of those orbs 
which light up the firmament. 

Children whose earliest breath is drawn in an atmos- 
phere reeking with the fumes of filth ; whose nourishment 
is little less than poison ; whose dawning consciousness is 
greeted with all the sad details of poverty and crime ; 
whose unfolding afi"ections meet with no warm response 
of love. These are a few of the sad experiences of the 
little ones of Bedford street and its vicinity. 

Often, as we have gazed on little faces prematurely 

88 sorrow's circuit. 

old, as we have seen these children, who should he hut 
a "little lower than the angels," adepts in o'wie, have we 
turned from the picture with a sad heart. Sometimes we 
meet with little ones whose hotter nature, all the adverse 
circumstances of life have been unable to extinguish. In 
the midst of the deepest degradation, " where God was 
but a dark cloud of muttering thunder in the soul," have 
we seen little germs of humanity spring up, like flowers 
far away from their native soil. 

We know of no sight worthier of the artist's pencil 
than that of one of these little ones, amid dehumanized 
men and women. If any thing, save the grace of God 
could bring these miserable captives of sin back to their 
Father's house, methinks, it would be the melancholy 
sight of these little ones, of whom Jesus said, "Their 
angels do always behold the face of my Father which is 
in heaven." 

And let those, with whom poverty, with all its associa- 
tions, is experimentally unknown, over the cradle of whose 
little ones hover a mother's love and a mother's care, 
remember that these neglected children of Bedford street 
are just as precious in the sight of God as their own 
loved ones ; that within each of these is a soul which 
must live amid the joys of heaven, or go down to the 
abodes of death eternal." 


" How serious is the cliarge 
To train tiie infant mind ! 
'Tis God alone can give a heart 
To such a worli inclined. 

While wicked men unite ' 

Our youth to lead aside, 
'Tis ours to show them wisdom's path, 

In wisdom's path to guide." 

90 sorrow's circuit. 




The following picture of the wretched homes of our 
children was drawn by a lady from the original, and sent by 
lier to her friend, with the privilege of using it in any way 
she saw proper. In the exercise of the privilege granted, 
that friend has handed the communication to me for in- 
sertion in my book. The writer is well known to the 
Christian church in Philadelphia, as an eminently holy 
woman, and, therefore, her testimony is the more valua- 
ble to us at this time : 

Dear E. : — Had you been with me this morning, you 
would not think Now York the only place where poverty, 
wretchedness, and crime congregate, and where efficient 
Christian effort is put forth to lessen the one, and relieve 
and elevate the other. 

I have just returned from a visit to the Young Men's 
Mission, in Bedford street, with my friend Mr. C, who 
is about to take charge of a somewhat similar mission in 


the West. We were very much interested in the school ; 
the dear little children behaved beautifully, sang and re- 
cited admirably. 

But we took another vieio of Bedford street, which I 
want you to look at with me. 

After leaving the school, we went with one of the 
teachers, who is also a visitor for the Union Benevolent 
Society, on some of her errands of mercy, — when, like 
Job, she went to search out the cause which she knew 
not. As we passed down the street, she turned up a 
dirty alley into a still dirtier yard, built up on each side 
with what I supposed to be cow stables, but such stables 
as no farmer would be likely to recognize. I remember 
having seen some such on a vacant lot in the suburbs of 
our city, where the poor animals grazed on hreivery slops, 
instead of grass and hay. But no poor cows were lodged 
in these sheds, which are about ten feet square and six 
in height. A little round hole cut in front of each, was 
the only admittance for air and light, except the doors, 
which, although fastened by a padlock, swung two or 
three inches away from the posts. They were really not 
good enough for animals, and yet they were used as 
hoarding Jiouses for those poor human beings, who had 
no homes of their own in this populous district. 

These incomparable lodgings are rented out at ten 
cents a night, invariably in advance. 

92 sorrow's circuit. 

A few days before, a poor victim of consumption had 
breathed his last in one of them. lie lived there for 
weeks, without bed, fire, or any of what we consider the 
necessaries of life even in health, until the visit of the 
Missionary relieved and supplied his wants. 

Think of such a shelter from winter's winds and snows, 
for a poor creature dying with consumption. 

We went back into the street, and, passing an alley 
where, a few nights previous, a murder had been commit- 
ted, in which all the actors were of the most degraded 
and revolting character, we turned three or four cor- 
ners, and knocked at the door of a miserable looking 
shanty, a few degrees superior to the hoarding Jiouses 
above mentioned. As we entered, the family were at 
dinner. The first glance brought a vivid appreciation of 
the ^^ great unwashed^ Father, mother, and six or 
seven little children seated on the floor around a dirty 
piece of cloth, on which was spread the meal, which con- 
sisted of boiled cabbage served up in a rusty washbasin, 
coffee made in a tea-kettle and poured out into two or 
three bowls, which were passed round from mouth to 
mouth, and a loaf of bread. The last coals in the 
house had been used to cook the dinner. A settee was 
filled with dirty old rags, and on a bundle of the same 
in a corner, lay a little baby three or four months old. 

While the wretched father fed himself with his pocket- 


knife, we talked to him, and ascertained the wife had 
been on a journey, on foot, to Baltimore and back, by 
way of Lancaster. She had carried, besides her baby, 
some of her househohl goods to selL I cannot well im- 
agine what she ever had to spare. They could not be 
prevailed upon to part with any of their children to go 
out to service, but preferred to keep them all at home ! 

Upon inquiry for the next person we proposed to visit, 
we were sent back into a yard, where a flight of stairs 
on the outside led up to the second story. We knocked 
at the first door we came to, but were sent still higher 
up one or two more dark staircases till we came to the 
garret. Here we found a woman in bed, with her face 
bandaged up and poulticed. A baby six months old, 
whose only clothing was a boy's old roundabout lay by 
her side. Two other pretty, bright-looking little child- 
ren stood by a wash-tub of dirty suds in the middle of 
the floor. 

As you may suppose, there wa's nothing like a bed- 
Btead in the room, but the filthiest bed I ever saw lay 
upon the floor. 

There was no stove, but part of the wall of the chim- 
ney had been knocked out, and some sort of a place 
fixed up to hold coals ; a small table, a broken chair, 
and a chest, completed the furniture. 

She accounted for the condition of her face by saying 


94 sorrow's circuit. 

she had fallen down stairs with a tub of clothes, and hurt 
herself against a pile of bricks. We did not mention 
what suggested itself to our minds as the more probable 
, cause of her injuries — a drunken brawl with her hus- 

She promised to send her children to the school ; and 
she said, " they were very nice looking indeed, when 
they got dressed up," of which fact I have no doubt, for 
they were very pretty. 

Along side of this room, in a most remarkably narrow 
little loft, we found an old man, who said he had lived in 
that place, alone, for, I think, thirteen years. He had 
had nothing to eat that day, and had no money. He 
made his living, such as it was, by gathering and selling 
old rags ; but, from his appearance, I think the tavern 
got most of his earnings. 

Our next visit was to a very dijBFerent family. Poor 
enough the house looked, and old enough the furniture 
was; but cleanliness, and the appearance of something 
like housework, formed so strong a contrast to what we 
had just left, that I was surprised when I learned how 
destitute they really were. The thin face and evidently 
weak frame of the woman who talked with us, told of 
suffering. Her husband had been hurt in a fall, had 
been out of work a long time, and they were really re- 
duced to great extremities. But we found a modest hes- 


itation in making her case known, and a trust in God 
that showed the refining influences of grace. 

I thought of the remark I once heard a dear old 
Christian lady make, " that the Lord's poor were never 
reduced to absolute beggary ; they never did reach the 
degradation and wretchedness of the devils poor " as she 
called them. Their heavenly Father always supplied 
their necessities by his own special providences. 

From here, we went to call upon two poor women, a 
mother and daughter, who had been snatched from the 
pit of immorality and wickedness, made to rejoice in the 
Saviour of sinners, and induced to lead pure and honest 
lives, through the instrumentality of the Mission. 

Happier Christians I have seldom seen. The old mo- 
ther was so crippled she could scarcely use her limbs at 
all ; and the daughter said sometimes they had meat and 
potatoes, sometimes only bread, but still they rejoiced in 
the Lord. They spoke in raptures of the time of their 
conversion, of the privilege of attending class, and the 
gratitude they felt to God for the religious friends who 
instructed them; and had you been there, your heart 
would have felt the happiness that reigned in that little 
house. "While we knelt in prayer, I felt that God truly 
honored that poor little room with the glory of his pre- 
sence, and that He who preached the gospel to the poor, 
often supped with those poor women, Avhile the spacious 

96 sorrow's circuit. 

halls and loaded tables of the rich, did not entertain the 
glorious guest. 

And now, Dear E , I want you to show this letter 

to our friend Hattie, and tell her to say, right honestly, 
if she could afford to wear a $500 set of furs this winter, 
and give one hundred dollars to the poor besides, 
whether she is not sorry she did not reverse the amounts, 
and give the $500 to the poor. 

Ask her which will pay the best interest in eternity. 
Perhaps she may think it an impertinent question, and 
perhaps it is ; but it will do us no harm to balance such 
accounts once in a while. 

Though I do not know that I can say, with M. De 
Renty, "I almost envy the poor their poverty," there is 
need of much wisdom and coui-age to rightly discharge 
the responsibilities of Prosperity. 

Truly yours, 

b. Jj. H. 

Philadelphia, March, 1859. 





City sorrows ! Yes, there are sorrows, grievous, 
heart-rending sorrows ; but, thank God, there are joys 
likewise. The cup is not all bitterness ; for there are 
drops of sweetness mingled therewith. 

Had you been with me the other day, my dear friend, 
as I sat in the Bedford Street Mission-house for half an 
hour, you would have been convinced of the truth of this 
remark, and would, I am sure, have been converted into 
a strong friend of the Mission, and filled with an earnest 
desire to aid it in its benevolent work of lessening the 
sorrows of the poor, and adding to the cup of their en- 

During the half hour that I was there, I had the 

gratification of seeing some sixteen persons supplied 

with fuel. There they came from miserable, squalid, 

poverty-stricken abodes; black and white, great and 

* Written by a Member of the Board of Managers. 

98 sorrow's circuit. 

small, ragged and dirty, with baskets, and buckets, and 
pots of various sorts and sizes. And, as each presented 
to the Sexton a ticket, which had been given him by the 
Missionary, as he passed around among their desolate 
homes, he was politely shown the way to the cellar, 
whence in a short time he emerged with smiling counte- 
nance, and bearing in his hand as much Anthracite as he 
could well carry. Thus one after another bore away the 
'precious gift, happy in the thought that they and their 
little ones would once more enjoy the warming influences 
of a comfortable fire. 

After a while the Missionary came along. He had just 
returned from a visit to Baker street, where he had un- 
consciously ushered a young lady, who accompanied him, 
into a nest of small-pox. 

It was a colored family who had seen better days, but 
who had been reduced, by misfortune, to the necessity 
of selling all they once possessed to save themselves and 
little ones from starvation. When found by the Mission- 
ary and his companion that day, they were without 
either bed or bedding ; and destitute of every comfort. 

And was poverty, destitution, cold, and hunger, not 
enough ? Must the cup of their sorrows be rendered still 
more bitter ? So thought an all-wise Providence, who, 
though he afflicts, does not do it willingly. He saw 
proper to add affliction by disease to the other evils they 


endured, and that disease the loathsome one of small- 

Now, child of luxury, spoiled favorite of fortune, nay, 
brother Christian ! surrounded with your happy family 
in your comfortable and well furnished home, just imagine 
a fellow creature, without bed or bedding, reclining on 
the bare floor in this inclement season, and exposed to 
the ravages of that painfully loathsome disease, which 
requires the tenderest nursing and the most skillful ap- 
pliances of nourishment and medicine ; and then ask. How 
can such a state of things exist in this city of Brotherly 
Love ? How can I enjoy my superabundance, while so 
many are destitute of the mere necessities of life, and, 
amid scenes of deep bodily affliction, have not a single 
physical comfort left to cheer them ? 

I fancy I hear a sigh escape from your swelling bosoms, 
as with tearful eyes you acknowledge past delinquencies, 
and promise to be more diligent in the future in looking 
out and relieving Crod's suffering ipoor. 

But stop a moment. Brother Sewell has already 
granted some relief to this suffering family; and now he 
takes from the closet a roll of ticking, cuts off enough for 
two beds, has them made up as quickly as possible, filled 
with clean straw, and sent off to the needy ones. 

And now how changed their situation ! How com- 
fortable they appear ! And all, too, at the expense of 

100 sorrow's circuit. 

only a few dollars. Mark, too, the gratitude of the re- 
cipients, and hear the thanksgivings that they offer to 
their heavenly Father for putting it into the hearts of 
their benefactors to relieve their wants. 

And thou God, their God, dost also hear the thanks- 
givings that ascend, day by day, for the benefits con- 
ferred by the benevolent men and women, who established 
and who still support the Bedford Street Mission ; and 
hearing, thou wilt also bless this noble band, and give to 
them in return for all their outlay, " a hundred fold in 
the present world, and in the world to come life everlast- 



JIM IjST school, by HIS TEACHER. 

In the summer of the year 1857, there came into our 
Sabbath-school one of the most unpromising looking 
boys, of about twelve years of age, that the eye ever 
beheld. His general appearance defies description. 
The rags that covered him were reeking with filth, his 
hair matted, his face so covered with black dirt as al- 
most to conceal the original color, and worse than all he 
was beastly drunk. 

As he came reeling into the room, a feeling of sadness 
came over me to see one so young so depraved. He was 
very boisterous. The first impulse was to eject him from 
the room, but compassion for him changed my deter- 
mination. After some persuasion he became compara- 
tively quiet, and the exercises of the school progressed. 

The hour of dismissal having arrived, as was our cus- 
tom, we closed with singing, and while memory lasts, 
never will the recollection of the effect produced by that 

102 sorrow's circuit. 

song of praise upon tte young inebriate be effaced. His 
eye sparkled with deliglit, and as if bound to the spot, 
he remained without motion. Music soothed his trou- 
bled spirit, and the heart of him upon whom sin and 
misery had cast a shadow was joyful for the moment. It 
exhibited the finer feelings of his nature, which remained 
to be developed. 

My interest increased for him at this manifestation, 
and a determination was formed to endeavor to save the 
soul of poor Jim. I spoke kindly to him, and persuaded 
him to promise to attend on the following Sabbath. 

The next Sabbath found him punctual, and although 
under the influence of ardent spirits, yet not to the ex- 
tent of the previous Sabbath. As week after week 
passed, Jim was always found in the school. He was a 
peculiar case, — only as circumstances presented them- 
selves, could instruction be imparted to him. We could 
not persuade him to unite with any particular class, but 
he would wander from one to another as suited his fancy. 
He was always attentive, and appeared delighted. 

In course of time he became a pupil of our day-school, 
and thus we had him under our care continually. Not 
being used to control, it was difficult for him to submit, 
and many times it was thought useless to make further 
effort with him. At times we thought the seed sown 
had taken root ; but evil influences would dispel the ray 


of liope, and at present the young waif upon society re- 
mains incorrigible. 

The reader may ask the question, — "Why do you 
persist in laboring with him ?" We answer, Jim has a 
soul to be saved, and in his character we have discovered 
a principle to work upon, and by God's assistance and 
earnest prayer, we believe he will be saved. 

An incident that occurred some months since will 
better exemplify what we mean. 

He came into school one day very much under the 
influence of liquor, and was disposed to be boisterous. 
After opening the exercises, I went to him. At first 
he was disposed to repulse me, and stretched himself 
upon the floor. I paid no attention to his position, but 
continued talking to him of the sinfulness of his con- 
duct, and how displeased God was with him. During 
the conversation he became quiet, and turning his full, 
intelligent eyes upon me, said with emotion, "Oh, don't 
talk that way to me, you make me feel so bad." From 
that moment my heart took courage, and I determined 
to make poor Jim a special subject of prayer, and do all 
in my power to induce him to seek a change of heart. 

" Who shall the book of Judgment write ? 
That awful book, young sinner, thou, 
Year after year, with all thy might, 
Hast written, and art writing now. 


Each guilty thought, each sinful word, 
Each wantoD, wicked act of thine, 

Leaves there its mark, and shall be heard, 
As thou thyself hast writ the line. 

Oh ! who the dreadful page can blot ? 

Who rend it from the Judge's hand ? 
Sinner, if thou repentest not, 

The guilty lines shall always stand !" 




" Go out quickly," says the Saviour, "into the streets 
and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the 'poor., and 
the maimed, and the halt, and the blind." " Go out into 
the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, 
that my house may be filled." 

And what is this but street preaching ? And yet cer- 
tain ones tui'n up their pious noses, or give a holy groan 
at the decay of the church, in countenancing such a 
gross departure from the customs of the fathers, who 
thought it was robbing God to preach anywhere but be- 
hind a velvet cushioned pulpit. 

The fact is, street preaching is so very unpopular, that 
it requires a considerable amount of grace to enable a 
man to stand on the street and declare God's holy truth. 
I have often had my feelings wounded by the conduct of 
professors of religion, who, on passing by, observing a 
crowd around me, would hurry up to see what was going 

106 sorrow's circuit. 

on, and finding It "only a man preaching," vrould walk 
off grinning, as though they did not vrish to he identified 
with ^Hhat party.'' 'Tis true, there are a few willing 
ones who give countenance to street preaching, and once 
in a great while stand by us as we stand up on the high- 
ways to preach Christ; but these are "few and far be- 
tween." And besides the laymen, many of whom are 
more ready to frown than smile on us, there are not a 
few of the " ministry," who discard the movement alto- 
gether. Some of them, it is true, will encouragingly say 
to us, " Go on ;" but you can't get them to say, " Come 
on," and to lend their assistance by preaching occasion- 
ally themselves to the moving masses. And yet I hope 
the day will soon come when both pastors and people will 
recognize it as a part of their work, to go out on the 
streets and into the market places, and hold up the cross 
of Christ to dying sinners. 

In the further discussion of this subject, I will present 
the views of one of our managers, brother George Milli- 
ken. He says, in the April number of our Journal, 

" There are some people, who, like the Greeks of old, 
regard preaching as foolishness, and street preaching es- 
pecially, as the very acme of foolishness. 

" Are there not churches enough ? they ask, then 
what good can result from out-door preaching? "VVe 


greatly fear, indeed, that even many well-meaning Chris- 
tians stumble and faint at the very outset of duty by in- 
dulging in this querulous spirit. They seem to forget 
that sowing and watering is the plain duty of Christians, 
and that they have nothing to do with the result, that 
resting in the hands of God alone. 

" And we are satisfied that were Christians to do their 
duty faithfully in sowing the good seed of the word, God, 
on his part, would never fail to crown their labors with a 
plentiful harvest. 

" The spirit of the Gospel requires us to seeh the lost 
sheep ; and hence, if we can find out a class of the com- 
munity who will not come to our churches, we 'must carry 
the Gospel to them, and preach the good news of salva- 
tion at their very doors, or else we stop short of the re- 
quirements of Christianity, and fail to obey the plain 
command of Christ. 

" The operations of our Mission were commenced with 
street preaching. At that time we had no Mission 
church, but the weather being favorable we determined 
to commence the work by establishing street preaching 
on a number of by streets and lanes, and on some of the 

" The first difficulty, usually, was to find out a neutral 
ground, as many a time have the preachers been driv- 
en off the ground of Bible-haters, if not with blows, 

108 sorrow's circuit. 

with curses most liberally bestowed on them and then: 

" The spot selected was often, from necessity, the filthi- 
est place in the street, where the pestilent atmosphere 
produced by decaying animals and vegetable refuse, was 
rendered still worse by the walloiving of hogs in the reek- 
ing slime pools. Here taking their stand, a verse of a 
hymn would be sung, which usually attracted the atten- 
tion of a few stragglers. Often two or three drunken 
men or women would stagger up and form the nucleus 
of a congregation ; then some of the prostrate occupants 
of the sunny spots on the pavements and cellar doors 
would wake up after their noonday nap, and brushing 
away the flies, would gather their rags about them, and 
settle into an attitude of listening ; half naked, bloated 
and battered men and women would creep forth from 
their underground lairs, and woolly heads would appear 
from out of broken window sashes, till gradually a con- 
siderable audience would bp giving attention to what was 
going on. 

" Occasionally a scoffer, or a disciple of Tom Paino 
would come along and create some disturbance. Some- 
times a handful of mud or a brick-bat would be aimed 
at the preacher, and on one occasion a poor little girl, 
who was standing in the crowd, was so badly cut on • 
the head by a piece of brick that we thought she was 


killed. However, as the preachers boldly stood their 
ground, (one or two cases excepted,) outrages of this 
nature grew less frequent, and they are now able to 
preach the Gospel of peace without any very serious ap- 
prehensions of getting their heads broken. 

" What will be the result of these efforts, we may not 
know now. The seed of the word, sown on these occa- 
sions, is carried off in the hearts of many a stray waif 
on the great ocean of life, and may take 'root down- 
ward and bear fruit upward' on far distant shores ; as 
those winged natural seeds that float off on every zephyr, 
and after being driven hither and thither by the winds, 
at last fall to the earth, germinate, and spring forth with 
an appearance of spontaneous growth." 

" Jesus, thy wand'ring sheep behold I 
See, Lord, with yearning bowels, see 
Poor souls that cannot find the fold. 

Till sought and gather'd in by thee. 
Lost are they now, and scatter'd wide, 

In pain, and weariness, and want : 
With no kind Shepherd near, to guide 

The sick, and spiritless, and faint." — C. Wesley. 

110 sorrow's circuit. 



Our manner of presenting the truth of God is with 
all plainness of speech, and not with high sounding 
words or metaphysical reasoning, or, as an old colored 
man once said of a very nice sermon, " That it was 
sheep's fodder put in the cow's rack." This we avoid, — 
and always try to put the fodder where it can be reached 
by the humblest hearer. 

Mr. Wesley, after having preached a great sermon, 
once said, " I have aimed too high, — I must aim about a 
foot lower." Meaning, he had been preaching to the 
head instead of the heart. And hard words, too, we 
avoid. The fact is, the people here are too poor to buy 
Walker or Webster even in abridgment — and many of 
them are too ignorant to understand anything but the 
purest English. But in this, perhaps, our Bedford 
street congregations are not peculiar. Ministers, I fear, 
often presume too much on the intelligence of their con- 


gregations, and hence use language that is not understood 
bj the masses. 

The Rev. Doctor Kenneday, of the New York confer- 
ence, at one of our anniversaries told an incident that oc- 
curred on board of a man of war, illustrative of this 
point : "A minister of the Gospel was invited by the 
chaplain of the vessel to preach to the officers and crew. 
He complied Avith the request, and did his best to pre- 
sent the truth in its simplest form. After the services 
were over, the commander of the ship complimented 
the stranger on his happy manner of setting forth the 
truths of the Gospel, and turning to the chaplain he re- 
marked, ' That is the way to preach to these men, — they 
could understand that kind of preaching, it was so 

" ' "Well, sir, do they not understand me ? I thought 
I spoke plain enough for every sailor to comprehend 
me,' said the chaplain. 

"'No, sir, you do not,' said the officer. 'For in- 
stance, you made use of the word " Tantamount" fre- 
quently in your last sermon.' 

" ' Well, don't every body know what Tantamount 
means ?' said the chaplain. 

" ' We will see,' rejoined the officer. ' Here, Jack, 
come this way.' The sailor approached the commander 

112 sorrow's circuit. 

in a respectful manner, hat in hand, to receive his 


" ' Jack, can you tell me what Tantamount is V Jack 
stood scratching his head,— showing that he was exceed- 
ingly puzzled. 

" ' Tantamount — tanta—tanta— tantamount — there is 

no such rope in the ship, sir.' 

" The chaplain looked blank,— owned up,— and pro- 
mised hereafter to use words that people could under- 

We endeavor to make our sermons practical and 
pointed. For instance— in using the Parable of the 
Prodigal Son on a certain occasion, while I had a dozen 
drunken people around me, when I came to speak of the 
rags and hunger of the young man, and^to contrast his 
present condition with what it was a few months ago, 
when his pockets were well-filled, I remarked that, 
" then he had plenty of friends, but now all are gone. 
Then he was followed and applauded by the multitude ; 
but now that his money is gone, there is none so poor 
as to do him reverence. 

" And just so it is now-a-days, — while you have mo- 
ney," said I to the drunken ragged crowd around me, 
« the rum-seller considers you clever fellows, and will 
do almost anything for you. He will resent your in- 
sults and injuries, take you out of jail, go your bail, in 


fact, nothing is too much trouble for him to do in your 
behalf, while you are in funds. He sticks to you like a 
leech as long as you have a dollar, or even a shilling, in 
your pockets, but when that's gone, good hy, friends r 

"That's a fact." "That's so." "You're rio-ht " 
said a number of voices in my congregation. 

"And if you are naked and hungry, they won't turn 
their hand to help you." 

" You're right again." 

" Eight, to be sure I am right, and you are wrong to 

allow such treatment. Just look at yourselves. Why 

you are as bad off as the prodigal, ragged and starving, 

and, like him, you have brought it all on yourselves by 

your own folly, your own imprudence. You have wasted 

your substance in riotous living, and what else can you 

expect but to be like him, and to be obliged to follow a 

mean trade? He fed hogs,— a mean business for a 

Jew. You^pick up rags and bones out of the filth on 

the streets, a business equally contemptible to all nice 

people. If anybody had told that young spendthrift 

and libertine, the day he left his father's house, that he 

would come home again in a few months ragged and 

starving, he would have felt himself grossly insulted, and 

would have promptly resented such an insinuation against 

his honor and strength of mind. 

" Just 80 with you. Ten years ago, who would have 

114 sorrow's 'circuit. 

dreamed that you would ever have gone from door to door 
to beg(? or with basket, or bucket, or bag, have wandered 
up one street and down another in search of rags, or 
bones, or something more foul ? Had any one at that 
time even intimated that such would be your fate, you 
■would have repelled the base insinuation, and treated its 
author as your enemy. But so it is. And now just think 
of the nice home you once had. Think of the smiling 
faces, and warm hearts, and loving ones that greeted you 
there. Think of that table fairly groaning under the weight 
of roast beef and every thing to match. Think of the great 
big feather bed, so large that when you were on it you could 
hardly be seen, and the elegant covers over you. Think 
of the wages you used to earn, six, seven, or eight dollars 
a week." 

" Yes, twelve of them, Mr. Sewell, and I had all them 
things you speak about too ; and more than that, I was 
a Christian man, and a happy one. You're a little hard 
on us poor devils, but you tell the truth." 

" Hold on a little. Jack, I am not done yet, hear my 
sermon through. I want to ask, and you may answer 
me, what would have become of the young Prodigal 
spoken of in my text, if he had not resolved, and put his 
resolution into practice, to go to his father, and confess 
his fault, and ask forgiveness ?" 


" Why he vrould have starved to death among stran- 
gers," said one of the crowd. 

"Exactly so. And in conclusion, let me ask, what will 
become of you if you stay here and continue the course 
of life you are now in ?" 

" Death and potter's field for the body, and the soul 
lost in hell for ever," said Jack. (Poor Jack ! he died 
of mania a potu in Moyamensing prison.) 

"And will you not arise and go to your father who 
waits to be gracious, and who is full of mercy and com- 
passion ? Let us sing from page 250 : 

" Wretched, helpless, and distress'd, 
Ah ! whither shall I fly ? 
Ever gasping after rest, 
I cannot find it nigh. 

Naked, sick, and poor, and blind, 

Fast bound in sin and misery, 
Friend of sinners, let me find 

My help, my all in thee. 

Jesus full of truth and grace, 

In thee is all I want ; 
Be the wanderer's resting-place, 

A cordial to the faint. 

Make me rich, for I am poor ; 

In thee may I my Eden find ; 
To the dying, health restore, 

Aud eyesight to the blind. 

116 sorrow's circuit. 

*' Clothe me, Lord, with holiness, 
With meek humility ; 
Put on me that glorious dress, 
Endue my soul with thee. 

Let thine image be restored ; 

Thy name and nature let me prove ; 
With thy fullness fill me, Lord, 

And perfect me in love ?" 




When we came to this Mission five years ago, there was 
a man among the many "loafing" about Baker street, 
who was as complete a sot as ever walked these streets. 
A more helpless or hopeless case could not be found. 
He was, indeed, the very last man one would expect to 
see reform. 

But with God all things are possible, in the salvation 
of man, whenever the heart yields to Divine influence, 
becomes willing and obedient, and he, truly repenting and 
forsaking his sins, flies to Christ for salvation, and feels 
to say, 

" In sorrow I lament 

Before thy feet, my God ; 
My passion, pride, and discontent, 

My vile ingratitude. 
Break thou, break the chain ; 

And set the captive free ; 
Eeveal, great God, thy mighty arm, 
And haste to rescue me." 

118 sorrow's circuit. 

Then there is hope and joy and peace. Then by faith 
salvation is given, and the helpless, hopeless sinner is 
taken into the family of God, and becomes an heir of 
heaven. Being toashed in the blood of Christ, and clothed 
in his righteousness, he now sits at the feet of Jesus, re- 
newed and in his right mind. And though he may 
have had even seven devils cast out of him, he may 
triumphantly sing,, 

"I know that my Eedeemer lives, 

And ever prays for me ; 
A token of bis love he gives, 
A pledge of liberty." 

The subject of this chapter seemed to have been pos- 
sessed, like the man spoken of in the Gospel, of a legion 
of devils, the Rum devil being in the ascendency. By 
these the poor fellow was being led rapidly to the low- 
est depths of degradation, and to the very gates of per- 
dition itself. According to his own account, he was 
now in jail, and now in the grog-shop ; now alive and 
noisy, and now half dead with excesses and exposure, 
running on from bad to worse until he was well nigh 
ruined for time and for eternity. 

One day as he emerged from the prison walls of 
Moyamensing, the county jail for Philadelphia, he was 
told that his wife had been dead several days. But this, 



instead of making him pause and reflect, only seemed to 
give him larger license to sin. And now more reckless 
than ever in his mad course, he seemed determined to 
kill himself with whiskey, just as his wife had done be- 
fore him. This poor woman stood before the Mission 
church door the very night before she died, cursing the 
congregation and myself to her heart's content; and then, 
after getting her fill of filth and iniquity, staggered to her 
room, where in five hours afterwards she was found, cold 
and stiff in death, and whence she was borne in the 
poor-house cart and deposited in potter's field. Thus 
ingloriously ended the life of this wretched wife, and 
thus it seemed probable would also end that of the 
equally wretched husband. 

But no, thank God, through his abundant mercy and 
forbearance, the poor, wretched, filthy drunkard has 
been washed in the "Fountain of Life," clothed upon 
with the righteousness of Christ Jesus our Lord, and 
is now in his right mind and happy on his way to 

Last Sabbath this same man stood up in Baker street 
before his "old cronies" on the old loafing ground, and 
there declared the Gospel of Christ to be the power of God 
unto the salvation of every sinner who cometh to him 
with a repenting and believing heart, and ofiercd the 

120 sorrow's circuit. 

.proof in his own salvation, wliicli he regarded as a won- 
derful exhibition of the love and power of God. 

His old comrades in sin looked on with amazement, 
hardly willing to believe either their ears or eyes as this 
metamorphose stood before them. 

He reminded them of what he had been and what he 
had suffered, reciting some thrilling scenes he had passed 
through of destitution, and starvation, and imprisonment, 
— everything, said he, but death itself, and then concluded 
with a powerful appeal for the Gospel. This resulted in 
some seven or eight promising to seek the Lord, and 
asking our prayers. At night they made the same ex- 
pressions in our church, and again on Monday night, 
and some on Tuesday night, thus giving evidence of 
deep conviction if not true repentance. They assure us 
that they are determined with the help of God to lead 
new lives, and to try to get to heaven. 

Is not this "Fruit ripening?" In truth, is not this a 
source of encouragement to every lover of the spread of 
the Gospel among the "Home Heathen?" Does not 
your heart, Christian brother, bound with joy to know 
that under the guidance of Jesus Christ, " the Captain 
of our salvation," we are turning the enemy's guns 
on themselves, and planting our banners on the outer 
walls of their strongholds ; while many of them are be- 



coming "prisoners of hope," and obtaining thereby "the 
liberty of the sons of God?" 

" Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, 
good will to man," and let every Christian say, 
Amen. i 

Already, has our brother, referred to above, been 
called on to fill appointments for other congregations, 
and his words have "run like fire through dry stub- 

Just think of it. A man, who, for many a day and 
week, lay beastly drunk in Baker street, going right 
back to that horrid locality, not to get drunk, but to de- 
clare the saving truth of Jesus to those that are ready 
to perish ; — to the very same rum-sellers who used to 
sell him penny whiskey, and to some of the very same 
loafers who used to drink it with him. I say some of 
the same, for they die oiF so rapidly, that I am pre- 
pared fully to endorse the opinion of a physician in 
New York, who had made it a matter of study and ob- 
servation, '■^that the average life of the dissolute does not 
exceed four years.'' 

How wonderful often are the changes in the afi*airs 
of men ! A tide of flood and ebb. Here is a man who 
takes flood tide for the balance of the way through life ; 
and if he continues with the tide will be led to pros- 




perity, if not to fortune. In my next chapter I will 
speak of some of his old associates who knew him in 
those days, that to him were full of evil and of sorrow. 
A sketch of his auditors in Baker street, will, perhaps, 
exhibit the nature of our work as clearly as anything 
else I could present. 




Is made up of every grade and shade of humau kind ; 
some of those that compose it never lived anywhere else 
but in Bedford street or its vicinity. These know not 
the advantages of virtue and refinement. They do not 
even understand the terms. They think that they refer 
to proud, or rich, or great people, but beyond this view 
they never go, and seem not to want to go. They do 
not, indeed, trouble themselves with the subject, nor with 
any other, save to know how they may get a dollar in 
the easiest way possible. This is the acme of all their 
knowledge and skill. 

Then there is another class that do not care if they never 
see a dollar while they live, if when one penny's gone 
for " Jersey lightning," they can only secure another, 
and thus keep grogging along through the sliort life 
they are staggering over to the end of the dark way — 
the way to death and hell. One penny is all they crave 

124 sorrow's circuit. 

at a time. That will keep them happy for a whole hour. 
Dear me ! what a wonderful amount of happiness one of 
those hair-lipped bipeds, who go into the Chestnut street 
saloons, and sip brandy through rye straws, at 12 cents 
per glass, might procure, by going into Baker street and 
"putting a few crowds through," at one cent a glass. 
And then it would look more sociable and democratic ; 
and besides this the splendid fortune amassed by the toil 
and sweat of a kind but misguided father would last 
longer, and procure a much larger amount of sensual 
gra^tification. But, hold on, I will take back the invita- 
tion. These tippling dandies are in a fair way to get 
there soon enough. They now drink mint juleps at a 
shilling per glass. In a little while perhaps they will 
gather the mint from the swamps, and, with toady face 
and swelled shins, go from one groggery to another to 
sell a three cent bunch to the rum-seller, who will make 
mint slings for the new generation of rising drunkards ; 
while his former customers will limp back to Bedford or 
Baker street to spend their pennies with ragged loafers, 
and after they have broken their father's heart by their 
dissipation and degradation, the sheriff, in all probability, 
will break their necks. (See the account of the four 
men who were hanged in the city of Baltimore, April 
8th, 1859. Three of those were young men connected 
"with respectable families, who committed mm*der while 


they were drunk.) Or, if they do not get that high In 
the world, they will probably live in some cellar with a 
gang of dirty men and dirtier women, and with a hooked 
stick go from street to street, and from lot to lot, in 
search of rags and bones, or with bucket in hand pick 
cinders from the ash barrels along the curbstone, or else 
go from door to door begging cold victuals to satisfy their 
hunger, or for old clothes to cover their nakedness. 

But turning from the young "Bucks" that now pro- 
menade Chestnut street, and frequent its splendid Bil- 
liard and drinking saloons, making a circuitous but certain 
road to Baker street, — to the ladies who sip wine or 
"Tiff," with their lady friends, and flirt with splendid 
exquisites, laughing to scorn the temperance pledge and 
its advocates, allow me to say, these too are laying a train 
to their future disgrace and utter ruin. How little do 
these wine-drinking ladies now think of the dangers of 
the road in which they are walking ! How they would 
turn up their pretty lips, and draw down their intelligent 
looking brows at the insinuation of danger, and how in- 
dignant they would be if I were to say, " Take care, young 
ladies, you are in the road to Baker street, and instead 
of a fine tailor-finished gentleman for a husband, you will 
possibly be housed with some ugly ragged darkey in 
these haunts of vice, after an apprenticeship in Pine 


" Stop, stop, stop, for mercy's sake, stop. Don't 
make one sick, if you please. I'll throw down tlie book, 
and never read another -word in it, if you don't stop. 
Such talk is disgusting." 

I know it, yet the picture is not half drawn. You 
are so fastidious that I cannot bring out the whole scene. 
But will you allow me to bring to recognition what I 
have already painted ? You recollect I began this chap- 
ter with the intention of giving a history of my street 
audience. Of those born in this locality we have already 
spoken. Of those born in influence and affluence we 
shall now, with your permission, speak. 

One Sabbath afternoon as we stood in Baker street, 
proclaiming salvation to lost sinners, a young man, per- 
haps thirty years of age, came and sat within a few feet 
of our standing place. He was covered with rags and 
dirt, as foul and forbidding a specimen of a loafer as 
could well be found in these parts. If he had been born 
and raised a beggar, he could not have fitted the charac- 
ter better than he did, both in word and look. It was a 
sad sight to behold one so deeply fallen. There the poor 
fellow sat shivering, not because it was cold, for the 
thermometer was about 90 degrees, but because he had 
on him a fit of the shakes^ as the rummies call it, or de- 
lirium tremens, as the physicians name it. Notwith- 
standing his sufiierings of body and mind, this degraded 


wretch tried to listen to the discourse, some of which, 
drunk as he was, he had sense enough to regard as per- 

"We were telling of a man who once stood fair in the 
M. E. Church, as a well educated, and seemingly pious 
man, well connected, and in a fair way to fill an honor- 
able position among Zion's watchmen. He was a young 
man of fine talents, and therefore, great hopes were en- 
tertained of his future usefulness in the church of Christ. 
But that man now lies about these streets among the 
dirty groggeries. He is at this moment within the sound 
of my voice, a poor, miserable, bloated, almost naked 

" Mr. Sewell, you are personal. I am not so drunk but 
that I can tell who is meant." 

"Yes, Charley, (this is a nickname he is known by in 
Baker street,) I mean you. You are the man. And, 
sir, let me say there is a fearful doom awaiting you, I 
fear, not many months hence. For death will come and 
cut you ofi" forever from the land of hope, and then your 
destruction will be sealed to all eternity. And there 
seems to be no help for it, for you will not pick yourself 
up, nor allow any one else to do it. I tell you, sir, your 
road is short, and your descent rapid from the pulpit to 
a drunkard's grave, and a drunkard's hell.'' 

" Ah, sir, you are too hard on us poor fellows." 

128 sorrow's circuit. 

" Too hard, Charley ! Just think of the time •when 

you stood up in the pulpit at , recollect how you 

■were loved by, and how much you loved that pious 
mother, and those kind friends who doted upon you, and 
painted for you a glorious future. Look where you once 
were, and to what a depth of degradation you have now 
fallen — a Baker street loafer. Do I tell anything but 
the truth ?" 

Dear reader, I do not wish you to know tte name of 
this unfortunate man, and I pray you, therefore, never 
to ask me to disclose it ; for such a disclosure would only 
open afresh the wounds that his sad fall has made in 
more hearts than one. 

A number of our auditors on every Sabbath are men 
of fine minds, and good education. These often carry 
our sermons through a severe criticism. The wife of one 
of this class, brought me some papers, some time since, 
on which was written from memory two thirds of a sermon 
I had preached. The report was a faithful one, remark- 
ably so. Of course such close attention to the preached 
word must have its influence on the heart of such a care- 
ful hearer. And in this case the fruit begins to appear ; 
for the man has been strictly sober ever since last Octo- 
ber, which is a wonderful thing for Jiim. 

I gave wine drinking ladies a hint awhile ago, that in- 
stead of a comfortable home and an honorable husband, 


whose care and kindness might make that home an 
"Eden," they were in a fair "way to reach Pine alley 
or Baker street, where every vestige of self-respect will 
be extracted by the immoral atmosphere that abounds in 
these horrid places. 

Dear lady reader, think of it, will you ? and at once, 
and forever, dash the fatal cup from your lips. Warn 
your daughters, too, to beware lest they realize in their 
own sad experience the truth of the following tale of wo- 
man's woes : 

Two hours before I penned this I was sent for by a fe- 
male, now in the Moyamensing prison, sent there as a 
drunken vagrant. 

This woman, whom I suppose to be about 25 years of 
age, is the daughter of a respectable man in the State of 
Dela-^yare, and her brother is a successful merchant in 
the same state. The poor creature was brought to this 
city to learn the millinery business, but was enticed from 
vu'tue's path by first going to the theatre, then to the 
ball-room, then to the grog-shop. Now she fills a 
wretched cell in the prison, whence she calls on me to 
visit her. Poor Sarah ! her road is short, and dark, and 
leads to death. 

My own heart, though accustomed to such scenes in 
Sorrow's Circuit, saddens and sickens while I give this 
picture of woman's degradation. I fain would throw 

130 sorrow's circuit. 

over the whole the vail of eternal forgetfulness ; but this 
I dare not do, while others are preparing to fall into the 
the same fearful vortex. 

Here are the portraits (badly drawn, I admit, but 
what can we do better, when our subjects are so bad?) of 
two others. The first is the heroine of " Old Susy's" 
grog-shop, in Bedford street. This woman once belonged 
to church, and was thought to be an earnest Christian. 
But she is now the "bully" of Bedford and Baker 
streets. I once saw her absolutely taking the coat off 
of a man's back, in the middle of the street, he being 
unable to resist her powerful arm. She already had his 
watch, and would soon have had his coat also, and all 
would have been sold for whiskey if I had not interfered. 
I saw this same woman fight a man for twenty minutes 
"rough and tumble" fashion, with a long knife in her 
hand, which she tried repeatedly to plunge into him. 
My blood chilled in my veins, but the gay crowd would 
not allow any one to interfere. 

This woman ! ! ! can and does whip any man in these 
parts whenever she feels like it. She is one of my street 

Another woman ! ! ! used to sit on her step and curse 
me to my face, in a tone loud enough to disturb the sober 
part of my congregation ; and no words of kindness 
could stop her noise. She would swear the most terrible 


oaths that ever came from mortal's lips. But for the last 
two years she has been sober and attentive to the word 
of life, taking pains to prepare me a preaching-place 
before her door, by setting out her table and broken- 
backed chairs, with pitcher and tumbler and a Bible 
which I gave her. 

She, and her husband also, attend many of our meet- 
ings in the Mission house, and I hope they will yet be 

" Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, 
and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the 
halt, and the blind." Luke xiv. 21. 

132 sorrow's circuit. 




Nov. 21. — This evening found me at our Mission-room 
in Bedford street — the place was literally jammed with 
a congregation such as is seldom seen, embracing every 
shade of color, and almost every grade of character, 
some of whom I should be unwilling to meet in a lonely 
place if I had valuables about me. 

I looked on the mass, and my heart was moved. I 
thought, however objectionable their appearance, and 
however desperate their condition, they were susceptible 
of being washed in that fountain, that " was opened in 
the house of David," and of shining as stars of the first 
magnitude in the kingdom of heaven. 

The preacher who addressed them was laboring under 
considerable hoarseness, and requested that strict at- 
tention should be given, or he could not be heard. But 
this request was entirely unnecessary. The deep inter- 


est felt caused a deathlike stillness to pervade the as- 
sembly, interrupted only by a groan of anguish, now 
and then, from the sin-burdened heart, under arrest by 
the Holy Spirit. 

It was evident he was not addressing Gospel-hardened 
sinners, such as are found in all our churches, but those 
who (many of them at least) had not been inside of a 
place of worship for many years. And when the plain 
Gospel was brought to bear upon them, they trembled 
exceedingly, became alarmed, and like Saul of Tarsus 
cried out, " Lord, whet wilt thou have me to do ?" 

After a short sermon, the prayer-meeting was com- 
menced. But what a scene was now presented ! The 
cries of distress were heard from every part of the 
house. Evidently the slain of the Lord were many. 
Those that could pressed through the crowd, and kneeled 
at a front bench prepared for them. Others being 
wedged in by the crowd kneeled where they were. One 
man in front of me, I observed to be very uneasy. He 
tried to get out of the room, but could not for the crowd. 
He would then attempt to pray. Then again with hat 
in hand would look for an opportunity to escape. Then 
as if in agony, he would kneel, and again attempt to 
pray. I listened for a moment, and heard him use the 
following language. 

" God, I have been a hardened wretch. My crimes 

134 sorrow's circuit. 

are sucli that it would be unsafe for me to confess them 
to any but thee." 

Then rising to his feet, he said, " Suicide would be pre- 
ferable to my present condition." 

The man next to him presented the most wretched 
appearance imaginable. But half-clad, filthy in the ex- 
treme, and most disgusting to behold ; yet, he was in 
deep distress on account of his sins. He was a man of 
some intelligence, and had evidently seen better days ; 
but intemperance had brought him to his present condi- 
tion. It had, almost, done its woftt for him. He could 
not sink much lower and be out of the bottomless pit. 

Two others by his side were in a similar condition. A 
little to the left a tall man lay full length upon the floor, 
as if a musket ball had pierced his heart. Soon he was 
on his feet praising God for his pardoning love. 

Near him was a colored woman, decently dressed and 
of respectable appearance, imploring mercy. I never 
saw a person more in earnest. Soon the struggle was 
over, and the " new song was put in her mouth." She 
"walked and leaped and praised God." Similar scenes 
were witnessed in other parts of the room. Before ten 
o'clock the meeting was closed, and all withdrew in the 
most orderly manner, — many with arrows piercing their 
hearts, others rejoicing in God's pardoning love. The 
scene altogether was such a one as I shall never forget. 


" join ye the anthems of triumph, that rise 
From the throng of the blest, from the hosts of the skies : 
Alleluia, they sing, in rapturous strains ; 
Alleluia, the Lord God Omnipotent reigns !— 

Eejoice, ye that love him ; his power cannot fail ; 
His Omnipotent goodness shall surely prevail ; 
The triumph of evil will shortly he past, 
Aiid Omnipotent mercy shall conquer at last." 

136 sorrow's circuit. 



" Can a confirmed drunkard be reformed and con- 

This question lias been asked me a thousand times, 
perhaps, and a very proper one it is, and one too that I 
take great pleasure in answering; but I would rather the 
enquirer would come and see and hear for himself. 
Come to our class meetings or prayer meetings, or love 
feasts, and you will see, and hear, and feel that God's 
amazing power is able to save to the uttermost, to save 
even the vilest of the vile. 

" None are too vile who will repent." 

No, blessed be God, none ! as I have reason to know, 
not only by my own experience, (for I was a great sin- 
ner, taking into view the careful teachings I had, and 
the tearful prayers of pious parents which were so fre- 
quently offered for me,) but also from observation. If I 


ever had any doubts of the salvation of drunkards, 
they have been long since removed. Let me give an ex- 
ample : 

An old man, at one time one of the most desperate of 
men, in the old district of Kensington, after filling 
himself Avith rum, and hajjpening to be near one of the 
uptown churches, was attracted to the door by the sing- 
ing, walked in, and took a seat near the entrance. The 
congregation thinned out, as the hour of nine drew near, 
but the altar by this time was crowded with penitents. 
The old sinner, a little sobered, drew nearer to see the 
fun. Those at the altar were earnest in their cries to 
God for mercy. This made him feel badly, and he re- 
solved to leave the house. But on rising for that pur- 
pose, instead of going out, he went straight to the altar, 
not knowing what he did. His heart became gi'eatly 
troubled at the turn things were taking, and he absolutely 
began to pray for mercy. 

One of the trustees told me, that they thought at first 
that the old man was "cutting a shine," and so they re- 
solved to have him arrested the moment he made any 
disturbance. But the poor old drunkard remained or- 

Observing this, one of the trustees drew near to him, 
and with astonishment heard this notorious man, with 
heavy groans and in a suppressed tone, crying, "God be 


138 sorrow's circuit. 

merciful to me a sinner." This he reported to his 
brethren, who, beginning to think there possibly might 
be some seriousness in the old fellow, gathered around 
him, and began to point him to "the Lamb of God which 
taketh away the sin of the world." On this he raised 
his tearful eyes to heaven, and with a throbbing heart, 
and in an earnest manner, began to cry aloud to God for 

At ten o'clock the preacher in charge, after a few re- 
marks to the penitents, by way of encouragement, dis- 
missed the congregation, requesting the penitents to rise 
and go to their homes, and go, expecting to find the 
mercy they so much desired. 

All arose but the aforesaid poor old drunkard.' The 
friends requested him to rise also and retire with the 
rest, and come again to-morrow night. But he most 
positively declared "he would not leave the altar until 
God had converted his soul," and now pulling oflf his 
coat, went at the work with more earnestness than 

Eleven o'clock came, and the brethren again requested 
him to rise and retire to his home, but he again declared, 
"No, not until I'm converted." Another hour of toil- 
ing with, and prayer for the trembling sinner passed; 
and the brethren growing weary, again requested him to 


retire, assuring him that God would bless him at his 
home, if he would continue to seek him earnestly. 

It was now midnight, and but few of the members re- 
mained with him. But still he persisted, that, there at 
that altar, and before he left it, he must be converted. 
The brethren rallied once more, and near one o'clock in 
the iporning the " Power of God" came down, and fell 
with unmistakable evidence on this truly repenting 
drunkard. The "still small voice" was heard within, in 
sweet whisperings of mercy, sending a thrill of joy 
through his soul, that brought him to his feet, and " he 
leaped and praised God." 

The transformed man now thought of his home, and 
away he started, shouting as he went, the friends also 
accompanying him, all excited, all happy. 

He had not far to go to find that home which his aban- 
doned life had long made wretched. His daughter was 
looking out at the window waiting for her father's return, 
for they never dared to go to bed, as this daughter after- 
wards informed me, while he was out. The poor affrighted 
girl seeing her father coming making a great noise, and 
accompanied by quite a crowd, ran to her mother, cry- 
ing, "0 mammy, run and hide. Here comes daddy. 
Run, he will kill you, for he's got the mania a potu. 
Run, for God's sake, and don't let him kill you. Run, 
mother, run, don't let him catch you !" But while they 

140 sorrow's circuit. 

were trying to hide " mammy," in rushed the poor fel- 
low, who had always been a terror to his family, and 
finding his wife he thrcAV his arms around her neck, and 
shouted, " wife ! I'm a converted man. This night 
God has convei'ted my soul. Glory, hallelujah!" The 
wife wept tears of joy, and so did the daughter, and the 
rest of the family. But the old man continued to shout 
the praises of God, and so did the brethren and sisters 
that had accompanied him. After holding a prayer- 
meeting there until three o'clock A.M., the happy man 
said, "Now we'll go to my sister M's." And over they 
went, roused them up to hear the good news, and here 
also held a prayer meeting. Then he wanted to go and 
tell another sister, and away they went, and after com- 
municating the glad intelligence here, they sung and 
prayed, and shouted until daylight. "Now I'll go to 
work," said the happy man, and to work he went. A 
great change, indeed, in the affairs of this family, for he 
had not worked for years, his wife being obliged to sup- 
port the family at the wash-tub. Now they are all com- 
fortable. The man through his frugality and industry, 
aided by the blessing of God, is in easy circumstances, 
and surrounded with the comforts of life. 

This is a remarkable example of the power of God 
over the human heart. This man had abused his family 
most shamefully, and his wife in particular. She had 


once been a member of the very church where her hus- 
band was converted, " but," added his daughter in telling 
us the particulars of this thrilling incident, " daddy had 
actually kicked the religion out of mammy,'' and under 
no circumstances could she go to church, or attend any 
meetings for religious worship. All day would she stand 
at the wash-tub to eai*n money to feed and clothe her 
family and to buy him whiskey, and then at night she 
was compelled to sit at home and take his cuffs and kicks 
and curses. So that between poverty and abuse the 
poor woman became dispirited, and in her despair let go 
her hold on the promises of God, and became a cold 
and callous backslider. All the finer feelings of her 
heart seemed to be frozen, and, strange to relate, remain 
so to this day. Although her husband, since his conver- 
sion, has been as kind as husband can be, — caresses now, 
— and now weeps over her, — prays for her every time he 
bows before God, in secret or at the family altar ; and 
brings the influence of pastor and members around her, 
all seems to be in vain. The fountain of her soul seems 
to have been dried up, and her heart riven by the abuse 
of an unnatural husband ; and though that abuse has 
long since been forgiven by her, yet its effects upon her 
moral nature still remain, and exhibit themselves in an 
entire indifference to the subject of religion and her 
soul's eternal interests. But the reformed husband with 


his gray Ibcks is beloved by all both in the church and 
out of it. His childi-en are Christians, and he is a class 
leader, and now stands before the world as one of the 
pillars of the church of Jesus Christ. 




" There is a spot to me more dear 

Than native vale or mountain ; 
A spot for which affection's tear 

Streams grateful from its fountain. 
'Tis not where kindred souls abound, 

Tor this on earth is heaven ; 
But 'tis where I my Saviour found. 

And felt my sins forgiven. 

Hard was my toil to reach the shore, 

Long tossed upon the ocean, 
Above me was the thunder's roar, 

Beneath, the waves' commotion : 
Darkly the pall of night was thrown 

Around me faint with terror ; 
In that dark hour, how did my groans 

Ascend for years of error ! 

144 • sorrow's circuit. 

Sinking, and panting as for breath, 

I knew not help was near me ; 
I cried, " save me, Lord, from death, 

Immortal Jesus, hear me !" 
Quickly as thought I felt him nigh. 

My Saviour stood before me, 
I saw his brightness round me shine, 

And shouted, Glory, Glory ! 

Oh happy hour ! Oh hallowed spot ! 

Where love divine first found me ; 
Wherever be my distant lot, 

My thoughts shall linger round thee ; 
And when from earth I rise to soar 

Up to my home in heaven, 
Down will I cast my eyes once more. 

To where I was forgiven." 




Soon after the commencement of our labors among 
the denizens of Bedford street and its vicinity, there 
came a woman to the Mission-house to take the total 
abstinence pledge. She had been a most abandoned 
character, but she seemed earnestly desirous to reform 
her life, and as a leading step to that reformation, re- 
solved to give up the use of intoxicating drink. For 
some time she kept her pledge sacredly, and we enter- 
tained strong hopes of her complete reformation, but I 
am sorry to say, she has since relaxed into her old 
habits. About two years after the taking of the pledge, 
her son, a young man of intelligence and a successful 
mechanic, in his 24th year,^ searched' out his mother, 
whom he had not seen since he was five years old. The 
reason of this long separation w^as this. His father 

died when he Avas three years old, the mother became a 


profligate, and tlie child was put in the alms-house. 
Here he was found by a Dr. H. of Lewistown, Pa., who 
admiring his beauty, asked for and obtained the little 
orphan with the design of adopting him as his son. Mrs. 
Dr. H. treated lier little proteg^ with great kindness 
and care, training him at her knee to call on God for 
protection and salvation. As he grew up he became 
a great favorite with the family, and until his 17th year 
he stood fair (as the Doctor had no children of his own) to 
fall heir to the rich estate of his adopted father. But 
unfortunately for him, Mrs. Dr. H. died, and the poor 
fellow was left once more without the fostering care of a 

To add to his misfortunes, a quarrel occurred between 
himself and the doctor shortly afterward, in consequence 
of which he ran awa}^, and came back to Philadelphia 
under an assumed name, with the intention of going to 
sea. But failing to get a berth on board a vessel, he 
roamed the streets until his little capital (some 15 dol- 
lars) was all gone. Then he applied for and obtained a 
place as an apprentice to the printing trade. Here he 
continued under his assumed name some seven years, 
when, by some unexpected, turn of the providence of 
God, he learned that his mother was still alive, and that 
she was living in a wretched locality. He began the 
search, and sure enough, found her in Baker street, 


among the vilest of the vile, and with her he also found 
a beautiful sister, whom he had never seen before, she 
beino; the daushter of a second husband. 

This young and fair sister, though not yet 15 years of 
age, had already become quite an adept in sin. Poor child ! 
she knew not what she did. How could she know, raised 
as she had been among the very worst and most debased 
of human kind ? In her liome ! ! she slept in the same room 
where several men and women lodged. If she sat at the 
window of that room, it was to look upon drunken men and 
drunken women enacting all manner of wickedness. So 
that, she could have no proper conception of the word Vir- 
tue ! !" and, indeed, I doubt whether she could have given 
an intelligible definition of the term. She never saw it 
to know it ; never was taught it until brought into our 
Bible-class, Avhere she developed only duplicity and de- 
ceit, thus showing that she had been surrounded with 
the worst of influences, and had been cursed with the 
blighting effects of a wicked mother's example. 

This tender plant was growing up in the midst of mire, 
like the lily of the valley, inhaling into her inmost 
soul, the corrupting and poisonous miasma of sin in 
every form : — A delicate flower surrounded by rank 
weeds, beneath the shadow of whose leaves she was 
withering, all unconscious of the deadly influence they 
were exerting over her. Such was the mother, and such 

148 sorrow's circuit. 

the sister, of the young man when they were discovered, 
and by him rescued from the blighting influences of this 
region of sorrow and of death. But, unfortunately he 
brought no religion with him into the comfortable home 
he had provided for them far off from the infected dis- 

He was an infidel, not from early education, but from 
association with infidels. The " Sunday Institute," 
that devil's trap for unthinking young men, attracted him 
thither by their flaming advertisements, "of Ministers 
of the Gospel vanquished, &c." Here our young friend 
learned to disbelieve the Gospel, and here, he hence- 
forth spent most of his Sabbaths and other leisure hours. 

To such a person my visits, as a Minister of the Gos- 
pel, were, of course, not very acceptable ; and I 
should have been forbidden the house altogether, had it 
not been for the fact, that I had often relieved his mo- 
ther and sister from suffering and want. 

But the Lord worketh all things for his own glory. 
They were not in their new home many months, before 
the blighted flower began to wither and droop. The mo- 
ther saw it, and sent for me, not however without some 
opposition on the part of the infidel son. But the ear- 
nest entreaties of the girl, joined with those of the mo- 
ther, at length prevailed, and I entered upon the great 
work of preaching Christ to the dying sinner. 


It may be urged by some, that, to offer Christ to a 
dying sinner, is an unwarranted assumption on the part 
of the minister, and that death-bed repentances are not 
to be relied upon. Well, so I think, where the parties 
have had the advantages of a religious education from 
their childhood up, and where divine truths have been 
instilled into the mind and writtep on the memory. And 
yet the door of the temple of mercy stands open night 
and day, and who will dare to say that even these may 
not enter and obtain mercv at the hand of our merciful 
God? And if they may, surely I could say to the poor 
child of misfortune and humble birth, " FoR YOU THE 
Saviour died." 

And I did say it, and with emphasis too, for my faith 
is, that none are damned before they die. 

In this benevolent work I was encouraged and assisted 
very greatly by our venerable Brother in Christ, E. J. 
Yard, a man of great experience in the sick room, espe- 
cially among young men ; many of whom he has been 
instrumental in waking up to a sense of their lost con- 
dition through sin, and of leading with trembling step, 
but with an unwavering faith, to the blood-bought mercy- 

We labored for weeks with this poor child of misfor- 
tune, without seeing any fruit of our labor. But one 
day, while Miss S. and Miss H. were supplicating a 

150 sorrow's circuit. 

throne of grace, the mercy came in rich effusion, and the 
dying penitent rejoiced in a knowledge of sins forgiven. 
It was a precious season to our souls ; and we all felt 
that it was worth a life-time's toil to be permitted to 
witness such a conversion. 

But 'tis said, afflictions seldom come alone. And so 
it proved to this unfortunate family. The young man, 
now the stay and support of his mother and sister, was at- 
tacked with the same fearful malady that was bearing 
off his sister, — inflammation of the lungs. We hoped he 
might be saved, but our hopes were mingled with fears, 
for we saw that disease was working slowly, but surely, 
and that remorseless death would in all probability soon 
carry both sister and brother to an early grave. The 
work was increasing on our hands, and now we needed 
the wisdom of the wise, and the caution of the timid. 
Here was a case that must be handled with a skillful 
hand. One single mistake in its management might re- 
sult in the eternal destruction of a deathless soul. Oh 
what need of divine direction and of divine instruction ! 

There was one fact that gave us a faint hope in his 
case. It was this. He seemed to be pleased with his 
sister's peace of mind, obtained, as we teach, and as she 
believed, through Jesus Christ. Still he could not bear 
a word applied to himself. 

In a short time the sister passed sweetly away to that 


" undiscovered country from wliose bourne no traveller re- ^ 
turns." Her last words were encouraging to all who 
were privileged to stand around her dying couch. This 
delicate flower that a short time since lay trailing in the 
mire, plucked by the hand of Jesus, is now transplanted 
into the Paradise above, there to bloom forever in 
beauty and with unfading loveliness. This precious gem, 
picked up from amid the corruption of Baker street, 
burnished by the Spirit of God, now glitters in the diadem 
of Jesus. 

Oh, who would not prize a religion that reaches man 
in the lowest depths of degradation, and raising him up, 
transforms him into an angel of light ! 

But to return to our young infidel friend. He was 
now confined to his bed, and consumption, that foe of 
our race, was slowly but surely doing his work. He saw 
it, and murmured at the providence of God. We also 
saw it, and tried to find the door to his heart. This was 
a difficult task, for infidelity had barred every avenue, 
and unbelief sat as a sentinel to guard the soul against 
the first approach of truth. Yet this wicked watcher 
was troubled at the sight exhibited on Calvary's rugged 
hill ; and the scenes associated with the tragic death of 
Jesus in the "place of skulls," caused the dying sceptic to 
spend many a sleepless night. 

Oh, who, that has come to Christ for salvation, does 

152 sorrow's circuit. 

not remember the fiery ordeal through ■which unbelief 
caused him first to pass ! And who, that has passed this 
ordeal, does not feel to sympathize with those that are now 
enduring its bitter anguish ! 

" Mr. Sewell, I wish I could believe in the divinity of 
Christ," said this wavering sceptic to me, one day as I 
sat by his bedside. 

"Well, my friend," I replied, "this is no time to 
argue this matter; for you are too weak to endure it. 
But I'll tell you how to get at the truth in the easiest 
and simplest manner possible. Just get out of that bed 
when you are alone, fasten your door, kneel down, and 
ask God for light upon the subject. My word for it, you 
will not remain long in the dark." 

He promised to try this simple cure for infidelity, and 
kept his promise. The experiment worked just as I ex- 
pected. He became uneasy about the future, and said 
he wished he was a Christian. And now, with confidence 
we went with him to a throne of grace. Brother Yard, 
and some of our lady managers, with myself, spent a 
great deal of time at his bedside, helping all we could 
with our prayers, and tears, and faith. At length one 
day while we were close by his couch on our knees, 
struggling in prayer for his deliverance, we observed his 
steady gaze heavenward, his finger also pointing in the 
same direction ; and while we looked, presently his face 


was lit up with a heavenly smile, and shone with the 
radiance of glory. 

His soul was baptized with the Holy Ghost, and so 
filled with peace and joy, that he shouted aloud the 
praises of God. This brought his mother to his side, and 
then followed such a scene as I never witnessed before, 
and a part of it I wish never to witness again. 

With eyes streaming with tears of joy, he cried, " 
mother, I am a Christian ! mother, mother, mother, 
I'm a Christian!" This he repeated until his strength 
being exhausted, he lay weeping like a little child. But 
the tears he now shed were refreshing tears, the over- 
flowing of a grateful heart. 

The neighbors, hearing the noise, came running to see 
what was the matter, and the young man told them how 
happy he was with so much eloquence, that we indulged 
the hope that more than one heart was pierced with a 
barbed arrow from the word of God, the quiver of the 

But we are sorry to add, we cannot indulge in this 
hope for the mother. She was drunk at the time of her 
son's conversion, and has often been drunk since then, 
some sprees lasting for weeks. And this is the reason 
why we said above that we hoped never again to witness 
a part of the scene presented, when the son communi- 
cated to hi^wretched mother, the fact of his conversion. 

154 sorrow's circuit. 

rum ! thou curse of our race, when wilt thou cease thy 
work of ruin and of death ! Steadily to the en4 did this 
convert from the Sunday Institute and its diabolical doc- 
trines believe and trust in a risen Saviour. Steadily to 


the end did he feel the precious presence of Christ and 
the power of the Holy Ghost to comfort and support 
him. Yea, even while going through the dark valley of 
the shadow of death, he was enabled to lean upon the 
arm of his Saviour, and to exult in prospect of a glorious 
immortality. Being called away to the bedside of my 
dying brother (according to the flesh) who lived in Balti- 1 
more, I could not be with my young friend in his last 
moments. But brother Yard spent the last three hours 
with him. 

"When I went," says brother Yard, "to his bedside, 
he said, 'Talk to me, I cannot talk.' I took his right 
hand in mine and talked of heaven. He waved my hand 
expressive of his joyful prospect beyond the skies. When 
he could no longer wave my hand, he would press it, still 
holding on to me, until his hand was powerless, and he 
speechless. We then laid his hands on his breast, and 
still stood over him, until the last breath had passed : and 
oh, how sweetly solemn was that hour and that place ! 
No death struggle, no distorted feature, no groan, but a 
calm tranquil passage from earth to heaven." 



Thus passed away two precious ones, saved through 
the instruijientality of the Mission. 

We laid them both in the same grave, there to rest in 
quietness until the resurrection of the just, when we hope 
to meet tnem again. 

To each of these redeemed ones we can say to-day, in 
the beautiful language of the Poet : 

" Peaceful be thy silent slumber, 
Peaceful in the grave so low : 
Thou ua more wilt join our number, 
Thou no more our songs shalt know. 

Yet again we hope to meet thee, 
When the day of life is fled, 
' Then, in heaven, with joy to greet thee. 
Where no farewell tear is shed." 


156 sorrow's circuit. 



During the deep snow that fell in March 1857, — a 
snow which all that were then in Philadelphia will recol- 
lect, — the subjects of this chapter were severe sufferers. 
At the hour of midnight they were roused from their 
slumbers by the sound of falling walls, and by the 
violent movements of the floor beneath them. The house 
next door to them had already fallen, and they had 
barely time to escape before their own dwelling came 
down with a fearful crash, burying in its ruins their fur- 
niture and all that they possessed in the world. 

This was a severe calamity for a poor family, but it 
was not the last they had to suffer. Their sorrows had 
but just begun. 

In the month of May following, Mr. T. fell from a 
building and broke his leg, a disaster which confined him 
to his house for eleven months, during which time he 
never earned a penny. Mrs. T. was obliged in the in- 


terval to toil at the wash-tub to support her sick husband 
and five children. But even in this she was interrupted 
by the birth of a sixth child, and by a severe attack of 
inflammation of the lungs, which resulted in a confirmed 

In this state of things it may Avell be guessed there must 
have been want, dire want. Stern poverty had not only 
"looked in," but had taken possession of cupboard and 
fireplace, and now while December winds howled around 
their poverty-stricken dwelling, making melancholy mu- 
sic for the inmates, the yet sadder tones of " Mother, I 
am hungry, mother, give me bread," fell upon the 
hearts of these stricken parents. " Oh where shall I get 
bread?" said the distressed father of this sufi"ering family, 
one day as he wandered up and down the streets, almost 
frantic, in search of work, now that he had gathered a 
little strength. But, alas ! he had to return weary and 
footsore to his humble dwelling and famished children 
without bread. 

" Father, did you fetch us any bread ?" was the first 
words that greeted his return. But no answer came. 
His heart was pierced; and overcome with sorrow and 
with hunger, he fell fainting to the floor. 

JN'o bread came that nir/ht. And now for a desperate 
act. What was it? Did he eye that passing gentle- 
man's gold chain, and say, There is bread in that, and 

158 sorrow's circuit. 

one well-directed blow would secure it for me and my 
famishing children ? Or look'ing at that fine house, did he 
say, There's money laid up there that would save us from 
starvation if we had it, and to night when all are wrap- 
ped in sleep I must and will have it? 

Who would have condemned him without mercy, if he 
had thus thought and thus acted in a moment of despe- 
ration? But, even if the temptation was in his heart, 
he refused to yield to it, and weathering out the storm, 
he remained an honest man. 

But when we found him and his sick family, three of 
whom had the small-pox, and the fourth was an idiot, 
there was neither bed, nor fuel, nor food in the house. 
Every thing that would sell had been sold to buy bread. 
They would lie at night around the stove, when there 
was any coal to make it hot ; but the night before we 
found them, they slept on the hard floor without fire. 

And now hear the testimony for Jesus and his Gospel. 
"Mr. Sewell, I think 1 was living too far from the 
Saviour, and that this is the reason why I have been 
brought into this narrow place. He has done this to 
bring me nearer to himself, and I feel that it has had the 
desired result. And now I'll trust him for all things," 
said this afilicted woman, who was converted to God when 
only nine years of age. " For I see that after lie had 


tried my faith sufficiently he sent you, as an angel of 
mercy, to prevent us from starving." 

Here was a Christian with nothing but grace to live 
on. Nothing but grace did I say ? Yes, but grace is 
everything. " Man shall not live by bread alone, but by 
every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." 
And truly she was testing in her own experience the 
faithfulness of God, and learning what it is to live by 
faith in his promises. 

But another serious trial yet awaited her. She was in 
the fire and must walk awhile there, until the remaining 
dross of sin should be separated from her, and she be 
fully fitted for heaven. 

The trial came on the 29th of January, 1859. 

Little Julia said, " Mother, let me go to Mrs. , to 

get something for to-morrow, for we'll get no soup from 
the soup-house on Sunday, and there will be nothing for 
us to eat." 

" Well, child, you may go and ask Mrs. to send 

me something for to-morrow, if she pleases. Tell her I 
am very sick, and we have nothing in the house to eat." 

So away went poor little Julia with confidence and 
buoyant with hope ; for the kind lady had helped them 
before, and the child knew from late experience that 
there was bread there for them. (I wish I dare tell this 
good lady's name. But never mind, it is known in 

160 sorrow's circuit. 

heaven.) But alas for human hopes ! How often, just 
as we reach out the hand to grasp the cup of blessings, 
is it snatched away from us and dashed rudely to the 
ground ! 

Poor Julia was arrested as a street beggar by the 
police, according to the mayor's instructions, just as she 
was entering the alley of the house, where the kind lady 
above mentioned lived. After locking the poor thing 
up in the Station-house, the officers waited on me, a3 
one likely to know a good deal about beggars, and in- 
quired whether they were a worthy or a drunken family. 

" They are a worthy family, and you must liberate 
that child at once, and let her beg," was my answer. 
" There is no whiskey drunk in their house, but they are 
sick and poor, and must beg or starve. For we have so 
many to divide our meagre funds with, that we cannot 
help them as much as they need. They must beg until 
the man can get employment." 

The officers consented to comply with my request, 
and went their way to set the poor little frightened cap- 
tive free. And as they did so I hastened to Mrs. T. to 
tell her her child would soon be home. As I approached 
the humble dwelling, I heard the voice of plaintive sup- 
plication, — agonizing prayer to God to deliver her from 
this fresh trial. Her language was : 

" Jesus, have I not always trusted thee, and in my 


weak way tried to serve thee ? And Jesus, thou hast 
delivered me from many a trial before this, and now I 
will trust thee.'' 

"Amen!" said I, on entering the house. But it was 
all I could utter ; for my heart was full of this poor wo- 
man's sorrows. 

She prayed on, and I learned from her to pray as I 
had never prayed before. At last I said : " 

" Mrs. T., I have come to tell you that your prayers 
are answered, and your daughter will soon be home." 

On the reception of this intelligence, she immediately 
sent heavenward to her loving Jesus a burst of praise. 
"Thank you, Jesus, — thank you, Jesus," she exclaimed 
with joyous lips, while tears of gratitude fell like rain 
drops from her swimming eyes. My own heart was 
deeply moved at the scene before me, and with tears of 
joyousness, I joined her in offering praise to her prayer- 
answering God. 

This afflicted Christian subsequently made a remark, 
which I think I shall never forget. She asked : 

"Mr. Sewell, have you ever had a view of death by an 
eye of faith?" 

" No madam, I have only seen death when others die. 
I have never looked upon death in any other way" 

" "Well, I have had such a view. lie came in dreadful 

form, and rushing toward me so fiercely. But just then 

162 sorrow's circuit. 

Jesus stepped between me and death, and told him to go 
gently ; and Tie has been coming gently ever since.' ^ 

Myself and a few other friends were by her bedside 
when the cautioned messenger came. We found her sink- 
ing to rest as quietly and calmly as the setting sun of 
an Autumn's evening. A few people, poor as herself, 
were singing hymns around her in cheerful notes, as she 
waded into Jordan's dark wave. On approaching this 
humble disciple of Jesus, we asked : 

" Do you feel Jesus precious now that death is near?" 
She tried to answer, but could not. The tongue was 
palsied, her eye was dim, and her hearing almost gone. 

" Well, Mrs. T., give us some token by which we may 
know whether you can now read your title clear to hea- 
ven, and whether you now feel a blessed assurance that 
when you are done with earth, God will receive you into 
his everlasting kingdom." 

And slowly she raised her hand, and pointed upward, 
and there held it until death rendered it powerless. 
After a few struggles with natuVe, she passed sweetly 
away, to where Jesus is, leaving behind a poor emaciated 
body for death to exult over, in connection with that of 
an infant not two days old that lay by her side, the 
spirit having departed but a little in advance of that of 
its mother. 


" Calm on the bosom of thy God 
Dear spirit, rest thee now : 
E'en while with ours thy footsteps trod, 
His seal was on thy brow. 

Dust, to its narrow home beneath, — 

Soul, to its rest on high ; — 
They that have seen thy look in death, 

•No more may fear to die" 

lG-4 sorrow's circuit. 



Religion, — after all the talk about it, ivJiat is it? 
Walker's dictionary says " it is piety ; to be disposed to 
the duties of religion ; reverence to God ; a system of di- 
vine faith and worship." The Ciceronian etymology de- 
fines it, " to reconsider." While modern grammarians say 
it means, "to bind fast, or rebind." And last, and far- 
thest of all from the truth, the Romanists say, " it is to 
be bound by the vows of celibacy, and poverty, and aus- 

Well, I believe these are the strongest definitions of 
the term Religion that I can find outside the Bible ; but 
they do not satisfy me. So I turn to St. James for an 
answer to my question, — What is religion ? He says, 

" Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Fa- 
ther is this. To visit the fatherless and widows in their 
affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." 
Again, the same apostle says, in describing it under the 


title of Wisdom, that wisdom that cometh from above, 
"It is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be 
entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partial- 
ity, and without hypocrisy." 

Now take up either of these definitions as given by the 
apostle, and carefully examine it under the microscope 
of faith, and you will find in the centre and in the out- 
line of each principle embodied, and each duty enjoined, 
Love only, — love in essence, and love in action. 

True religion, then, consists in supreme love to Crod, 
and in such a love for man as will induce us, under all 
circumstances, to do unto others as we would they should 
do unto us. With this Godlike principle in the heart, 
the humble follower of the Lord Jesus is prepared to be- 
lieve all things, and to endure all things. And it is hard 
to tell in which this Christian grace shines most clearly, 
whether in the rich or in the poor. 

I heard a good brother once say in love-feast, that he 
had tried religion in prosperity and adversity, and had 
found it in both situations to be equally valuable. At 
one time whatever he touched in the way of business 
seemed to turn to gold. Money flowed, with very little 
effort, constantly into his coffers. His family were 
healthy, comfortable, and happy, and prosperity seemed 
to attend him on every hand. 

But a day of trial came; first affliction, and then 

166 sorrow's circuit. 

death. His children one after another, in quick succes- 
sion, fell into the grave, until all were gone. This was a 
severe blow, but his trials were not over yet. The de- 
stroyer came again, and took away his wife, and he was 
left alone with a desolate heart. 

But he was not yet through the waters. His riches 
also took to themselves wings and flew away. And now 
all was gone ! In two short years he had been bereft of 
family, of wealth, and of every thing he possessed but 
his religion. He had been taken, in an unexpected 
hour, from the very pinnacle of prosperity, and rudely 
hurled into the deepest vale of adversity. 

"But," said this man of God, "I have always found 
my precious Saviour near me. In all my prosperity, as 
well as in my adversity, I found religion to be a source of 
comfort to me. I have always believed that God would 
make all things work together for my good. My trust 
is still in my God, and through my precious Saviour I 
expect to meet my dear wife and little ones in heaven." 




" I HAVE been young and now am old ; yet have I not 
seen tlie righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread," 
saith the sweet singer of Israel. True, David, but you 
have not yet been in Bedford street, or you might have 
seen some of God's poor, who, if not forsaken by their 
great Preserver, have at least been greatly neglected by 
their fellow men. Come with me, kind readers, and I 
will show you just such a case, one that may do your 
soul good, and teach you to be thankful for the many 
mercies you enjoy. 

Well, here we are, just a square and a half from the 
^lission-house. Walk in, brethren. No, stop a moment 
till I first give you a brief sketch of the history of the 
person we are about to visit. 

Mother N is a poor old woman, who has been 

serving the Lord in her weak way for about fifty years. 
She is now over seventy, and has grown gray in her 

1G8 sorrow's circuit. 

Master's service. This poor woman seems to have been 
neglected or overlooked by the charitable. The fact is, 
there are so many suffering poor, who are worthy, in our 
large city, that my wonder is, that a great many do not 
actually perish for Avant of food. But I am glad to be- 
lieve that none are allowed to starve to death in this city 
of Brotherly Love. And as I have had five years' expe- 
rience in visiting among the poor, making thousands of 
visits annually, my observations and experience in this 
particular will not, I am sure, be regarded as valueless. 
True, I have known some who have apparently perished 
through want, but in all such cases, it has been ascer- 
tained, when the truth was known, that their want was 
superinduced by the immoderate use of whiskey, and 
that nature itself was exhausted by their debauchery. 

But this suffering child of God is not only poor, but 
age and feeble health have made her very helpless, so 
that she is obliged to depend wholly upon God, and those 
whose hearts he fills with charity, for her daily bread. 
And who knows but that we have come at the very time 
when our presence is most needed ! We enter now her 
humble dwelling, and find in her a trusting Christian, 
who never has for a moment doubted, but that the Lord 
would provide for the supply of all her real wants. And 
though she has often been in straits, not knowing whence 


she was to obtain a mouthful of bread, yet she has re- 
solutely clung to the promise, " The Lord will provide:' 

One day as I drew near to her door I heard her voice, 
but found she was alone. No ! not alone, her Saviour 
was there, and she was holding sweet converse with him. 
I heard her say, " Come, precious Jesus, take thy poor 
old suflfering child home. She is only in the way here. 
She can't do any good. Do, blessed Jesus, come, and 
take me /iowze." 

After listening to her pitiful pleadings awhile, I en- 
tered, and found her prostrated by sickness. My list of 
sick was so large, and my pocket book was so poorly 
stocked with the needful, which by the by is often the 
case, that I had to be careful and calculating in my 
rounds through Sorrow's Circuit, and the want of money 
had actually kept me for several days from this suffering 
Christian. For I cannot bear to look upon suffering 
poverty, and have no means to relieve it. 

"Well mother N , how are you to day?" said I, 

on entering. 

" honey, I am happy. My blessed Jesus has been 
here all day. Oh ! I'm so happy ! bless his name, he is 
good to the poor old creature." 

"Well, but how do you get along?" Not compre- 
hending my question, she answered, 

" honey, my soul is feasting." 


"But how do you make out for bread ?" 
" Oh, my soul has been feasting all day." 
"But I want to know about the bread that perisheth. 
I don't see anything here to eat," pointing to a sort of a 

"Why, as to that, my child, I havn't had much of 
anything to day. Yesterday I had tivo potatoes and some 
tea ; to-day I had a little tea, but no potatoes. But it's 
good enough for such a poor old worthless creature as I 
am, plenty good enough." 

Was there not more than a prophet here, to bless this 
poor widow's " handful of meal and cruse of oil?" And 
had she not heard the voice of the blessed Jesus, as he 
pronounced those words of encouragement, " Be of good 
cheer, it is I; be not afraid ?" On hearing her words of 
thankfulness for the meager fare she had had, I could 
not but exclaim, half aloud, "My blessed Saviour, can 
it be possible that Christianity can do so much for a poor 
sinner ?" " What ! two potatoes and some tea accompa- 
nied with the presence of Jesus, not only satisfy the body, 
but keep the soul in ecstasy for two days ! Can it be 
possible ? Yes, it is even so ; for here is a living exam- 
ple." Two potatoes and some tea with Jesus, was the 
picture before me for days ; and often, since then, has 
that same picture come up to rebuke my distrustful 


What fare ! you say. Yes, what fare ! For -who that 
has giten his heart to Christ, and continues to he his, 
does not fare well? What matter, whether banqueting 
with the rich man and his companions, or lying at his 
gate covered with sores, associated with sympathizing 
dogs, and fed with the crumbs that fall from his table, 
if angel hands are waiting near, to escort his soul at last 
to its blissful home in the paradise of God ? 

And thus this suffering and wonderfully patient saint 
of God, though passing through poverty's vale, continued 
to bless God for her present mercies, and to exult in 
prospect of a home in heaven, where her weary spirit 
should be forever at rest. And while she continued to 
trust God day by day for the necessaries of life, we took 
good care to put bread in the cupboard and coal in the 
box, and to meet the landlord's demands for rent ; so 
that she was not again permitted to want while she lived. 
Nor did she want in death ; for that same Jesus, who 
had stood by her in her hour of trial, and had multiplied 
the two potatoes and the little tea until there was enough 
for two days, was still with her, and she was enabled to 
lean her head upon his soft bosom, "and breathe her life 
out sweetly there." 

Dear reader, have you ever been inclined to murmur 
at the trials you have had to pass through, or may now 
be passing through ? Do you say, " It is hard that I 

172. sorrow's circuit. 

can't get along better ; I see others qnjoying all the 
luxuries of the season, while I have to live very plainly, 
and after all can hardly make all ends meet ?" 

Come with me, murmurer, and let me exhibit to you 
another scene that may help to make you satisfied with 
your lot. Follow me up these stairs, another flight, and 
yet another, in here, sister miserable, brother mm-murer, 
be seated. 

"Well, sister B , you sent for me, I was told." 

"Yes, sir, my daughter lies very low, and I am afraid 
she will never get well. I wanted you to pray for her, 
and to talk with her about her soul. She is not pre- 
pared, I fear, for another world, and I don't want her to 
die as she is." 

"Yes, madam, we will do all we can to lead your 
child to Christ, the Saviour of sinners. Let us pray." 

" Did you hear that ?" 

" Hear what ?" 

" Why, every time we adverted to the mercies of God, 
this poor afflicted woman praised the Lord." 

And now, after giving a word of exhortation to the 
dying daughter, we are about to retire ; but, getting a 
peep into the cupboard, we find that there is no bread 

"Why, have you no bread in the house?" 


*' No, sir, we have had no bread since yesterday morn- 

"What ! no bread for 36 hours, and yet did you not 
hear her praise God for his mercies, between almost 
every sentence of my prayer?" Oh, what a religion we 
have ! Oh, what a merciful God ! 

Dear reader, these are no fancied sketches, but are 
veritable realities. The names of the parties alluded to 
stand on our donation book, in which a faithful record is 
kept of all that receive aid from the Mission, not for 
public inspection, but to show the managers what dispo- 
sition is made of their money, and where it is gone. 
Gone ! what need of recording this ? Why it has gone to 
heaven along with the rest of our treasure. Since the 
organization of our Mission some forty souls have car- 
ried up the precious deposit right into heaven's bank, 
where it has been properly acknowledged and accredited ; 
and from it the donors will doubtless receive, if faithful, 
the enormous interest of "an hundred fold in this life, 
and in the world to come Life Everlasting." 

" Friend of the friendless and the faint, 
Where should I lodge my deep complaint ? 
Where ? — but with Thee, whose open door 
Invites the helpless and the poor." 

174 sorrow's circuit. 



I HAVE seen a picture, somewliere, in which Virtue and 
Vice are exhibited in contrast. Virtue is leaning rather 
pensively against a column with a pleasant face, and at- 
tired in clean but well-worn garments. On the opposite 
side, stands Vice with brazen face, and attired in ruffles 
and gold, with pendant necklace, costly bracelets, and 
diamond breastpin, all of which she seems to be con- 
templating with wrapt admiration, the very impersona- 
tion of what she was intended to represent, — vice. 

But neither of these is the picture I am about to pre- 
sent. Vice in rags is my subject now. 

Mary P was the wife of a man who owned and 

worked his own boat on the canal, running by the way 
of Bristol, Pa. to the Lehigh Coal Region. This poor 
man fell overboard at Richmond in a fit, and was 
drowned. Some one took possession of the boat, under 
pretence of taking care of it for the widow and her 


children. But alas ! that was the last she ever saw of 
either man or boat ; and thus she lost several hundred 
dollars' worth of property. 

Mary struggled hard for a while to support herself and 
family respectably, but, having no "grace to help in time 
of need," she at length yielded to the tempter, and be- 
came a wretched outcast. When we first saw her, she 
could hardly be recognized as a white woman. Her face 
was begrimed with dirt, her head covered with an old 
greasy hood, and her body clothed in tatters. 

This miserable woman asked me for something to eat, 
saying she was hungry, and had not tasted food all that 
day. I went into a shop, where they retail the cold vic- 
tuals that is begged from door to door, and bought Mary 
enough for her dinner. This opened an acquaintance 
between us, and, after that, I embraced every opportu- 
nity that offered, to persuade her to quit the whiskey. 
But, to my earnest entreaties, she replied, " When I am 
cold and have no place but the ground to lie on at night, 
and when I am hungry and have but a penny that some 
one has given me, what else can I do but buy a dram ? 
That answers for food, and at the same time warms me. 
But I'll tell you what I will do, Mr. Sewell ; if you will 
get me work, and give me some clothes, I'll go to work 
and earn my living." 

"But, Mary, I fear you won't keep sober." And I 

176 sorrow's circuit. 

really feared she could not, for she was the most un- 
promising looking of all the outcasts of Bedford or Ba- 
ker streets. 

" Yes, I can, and will. Oh, for God's sake, give me 
one trial." 

"Well, let me see you remain sober, and I'll talk 
more about it." 

" Mr. Sewell, it's no use to try here. Any one that 
stays about Baker street must drink ; he can't help it, 
for this is hell on earth." 

Not far from the truth, thought I, as I left her with 
a promise to give her a trial. And now having made 
this promise, I set myself to work to get her some 
clothes, and to find her a suitable home. In both ef- 
forts I succeeded very nicely. She went into the family 
of my friend, J. H. G., in the northern part of this city. 
They were much pleased with her willingness to work, 
and they encouraged her in her efforts to save her 
money, and to fit herself out with good and comfortable 

The first time she appeared in our Mission-church, 
after she had dressed herself, "the metamorphosis was so 
complete, that we could hardly recognize the identity of 
Mary in rags, and Mary clothed and in her right mind. 
Never did we see before, nor have we seen since, so 
complete and satisfactory a change brought about in so 


sliort a time. Why, she now looked like some matronly 
lady, that felt a deep interest in the poor of our Mis- 
sion, and had come to hand me a donation to aid in their 
relief. And so she did come, like a lady, to present a 
heart full of gratitude to your unworthy servant. My 
heart overflowed with joy to think that Jesus does look 
on sinners of every grade and of every dye, not to see 
how much, nor how long they have sinned, but how sin- 
cerely they repent of their past sins, and how fully 
they confide in him for pardon and salvation. 

Poor Mary did not deceive us, but exceeded our most 
sanguine expectations. She changed her place after a 
little while for lighter work at a gentleman's country 
residence. One design she had in making this change 
was, to recruit her health ; and another, that she might 
earn her living among strangers who did not know her 
history ; and a third, and that the best of all, that she 
might be away from the temptations that were in her 
way at every step while she remained in the city. 

And here, let me say, is the great drawback we have 
to contend with in the prosecution of our work. The 
allurements to vice are so numerous, and so frequently 
presented, that scores who would reform, and who indeed 
have made the eiFort, are overcome in the outset by the 
tempter's influence, and thus lured to destruction. Hun- 
dreds of these outcasts have come to us, and with tears 


begged us to send them away from the temptations with 
which they are here surrounded. Such was the power of 
habit and the strength of appetite, that the very sight of 
liquor set them mad, and produced in them an insatiable 
desire for its possession, and in their agony they have 
wished that there was not a drop in the world. 

" Well, if you hate it so much, why don't you quit it ?" 
we have sometimes ventured to say. 

"So we might, if the appetite was not formed. It is 
easy to say. Quit. But ask the old tobacco chewer or 
smoker, or laudanum drinker, or the 'opium eater, why 
they don't quit the use of these drugs, and they will an- 
swer, 'We would if we could.' That too is our answer." 

A man who once held an honorable position in one of 
our large city churches, became a sot. He felt his de- 
gradation, and joined the " Washingtonians" in the 
spread of total abstinence principles. They made him 
president of their society, and his friends did all in their 
power to save him. He moved a hundred miles away 
from his old associates ; but in about a year he returned 
again, a miserable bloat. He called on Mr. William J. 
Mullen, and said in pitiable tones, " For God's sake, put 
me somewhere, to keep me from liquor." Mr. Mullen 
complied with his request, and kept him for months em- 
ployed. He went forth into the world again as a sober 
man, but in less than a year he returned again a ragged 


vagrant, making the same request as before. This time he 
came near dying. His whole system seemed to be shocked, 
and after various ineffectual efforts to reform, and after 
days and weeks of suffering, and years of disgrace, this 
man of intelligence died in the alms-house a poor pau- 
per. His drunkenness had become a disease, which 
neither prison walls, nor suffering, nor moral suasion, 
nor consciousness of disgrace could cure. 

Such is the power of the appetite for stimulants over 
its victim, that unless the disease can be checked by the 
revulsions of his nature, and cured entirely and finally, 
the patient is always in danger. And we ask, when 
will the community awake to this subject, and establish 
a "House of Correction," where drunkenness maybe 
treated as a disease, and the proper remedies applied ? 

I believe that every physician in the land will agree 
with me that all intoxicating liquors are acronarcotic, 
and consequently when taken into the human system 
act directly upon the brain, and inflame all the parts 
they come in contact with. Depression of spirits and 
loss of appetite with nervous debility, must follow this 
dreadful overtaxing of the system, and if persisted in, 
it must ultimately produce insanity and death. 

The engineer could not introduce into his boiler 
water impregnated with soda, without disordering and 
ultimately destroying the whole machine. Much less 

180 somiow's CIRCUIT. 

can man introduce into his stomach the intoxicating 
draught without disordering and finally destroying his 
entire organism. Hence tampering with liquor as a medi- 
cine is, to say the least of it, dangerous business. It may 
cure one disease, but is apt to produce .another more 
frightful in its nature than that which it cures, a disease 
that affects both body and mind, for time and for eternity. 

I have met with drunkards who were made so by doc- 
tors' prescriptions. Many a nurse too has brought her 
patient and her newly born babe from the sick chamber 
confirmed in the love of alcoholic stimulants, a secret 
only learned by the unhappy husband and father, when 
both mother and child have become confirmed inebriates. 

I may here give as an illustration of the foregoing 
remark, as well as a warning to my readers, the unhappy 
experience of a woman with whose history I was fami- 
liar. Her career was short and melancholy. She formed 
the habit of putting a little "pure" brandy, or some 
good old port wine, or some good porter, in all the nour- 
ishment she prepared for herself or child. The result 
was that both mother and child soon became confirmed 
sots. In less than eight years after the birth of that 
child the mother died a feai-ful death, — died of the mania 
a potu. The child died in a few months afterwards, not- 
withstanding every efibrt was made to cure it of its 
burning appetite. It died pleading in the most heart- 


rending tones for gin, and bearing all the marks of one 
long addicted to the intoxicating draught. 

There is a mother and her daughter that may now be 
seen every day in the vicinity of Baker street, -when 
they are not in prison, either in a penny grog-shop, 
where white and black of the lowest and filthiest kind 
are gathered, guzzling down corn-juice and strychnine 
at one cent per glass ; or else lying on the sidewalk, too 
drunk to get out of the way of the police, (when they 
happen to pass that way,) and surrounded by dirty chil-" 
dren and dogs and goats and hogs. Here they lie in all 
their filth and wretchedness, whilst the husband and fa- 
ther is driving a brisk business, and making money by 
furnishing our citizens with his manufactured wares, 
his place of business being not five squares from the 
scene of their degradation. 

This woman learned in her own comfortable home to 
be a drunkard. Now, the only sober moments she 
spends are those that pass when she is under the kind 
care of Mrs. Ryan, the matron of the women's depart- 
ment of Moyamensing prison. 

And can no remedy be found for this dreadful evil ? 
Must rum forever tyrannize over us as a people, and 
rudely invade the sacred precincts of our homes, and 
tear from us our companions and our children ? Heaven 
forbid it ! A remedy can be found, whenever the better 

182 sorrow's circuit. 

class of citizens are prepared to deny themselves a use- 
less and hurtful gratification. That remedy is Prohibi- 
tion of the traffic in, and total abstinence from the use 
of all intoxicating liquors. But, till this remedy is univer- 
sally introduced, let us regard drunkenness in its true 
light, as a disease ; and let us erect Houses of Cor- 
rection, or suitable Hospitals, for the proper treatment 
and cure of the unfortunate subjects of this disease. 




One daj, putting on a "free and easy" manner, I en- 
tered the dwelling of a poor old sinner, who had always 
shunned me, and who seemed to be afraid to have me 
speak to her on the subject of religion. After some de- 
sultory conversation, in which I endeavored to gain her 
confidence, I addressed her with reference to her soul, 
and the importance of making earnest efibrts to save it. 
In the course of our conversation, I learned from her, 
that, though she lived in a Christian land, and in the 
midst of a city of churches, she had not heard a Gospel 
sermon for twenty-five years. 

Think of that, ye who are gathering up every dollar 
you can find in the community to send the Missionary to 
the heathen abroad, who have never yet heard the 

Think of that, ye that are searching in some unknown 
region for a field of labor in which you may, with the 

184 sorrow's circuit. 

utmost effort, save some perishing soul, while there are 
thousands at your door who never go where the Gospel 
is preached, and who, unless that Gospel is brought to 
them, will as certainly perish as the most degraded 
heathen. * 

Well, this gray-headed sinner was at our altar in a 
night or two after our interview, crying aloud for mercy. 
Her agony was great, because through a long life-time 
she had been a very great sinner. The struggle contin- 
ued for several days, till at length her faith laid hold of 
the promise of God, and she received an application of 
the blood of Christ to the washing away of all her sins, 
and was made unspeakably happy. 

A good brother of another church, to whom I spoke 
of her conversion, being aware that he had known her 
terrible history for long years back, asked me if I really 
thought such a woman could be saved. 

I replied to his question by asking him if he did not 
believe there was power enough in the Gospel to save 
any body, however vile. The Poet sings, 

" The dying thief rejoiced to see 
That fountain in his day, 
And there may I, though vile as he, 
Wash all my sins away." 

The truth of this stanza was fully realized by our 
aged convert. For, since her conversion, now nearly 


five years, she has been living %, quiet, consistent, Chris- 
tian life, so that I have never had the least reason to 
doubt her piety, or the reality of her conversion. Often 
have I come suddenly upon her in her humble home, and 
found her bathed in tears, because she had been so great 
a sinner for so many years. 

I was with her one night when the doctor had given 
her up to die, and she thought her end was near. But 
such triumphs, and such shouts as fell from her lips, 
when by faith she saw heaven near her, and herself, 
though unworthy, about to enter it ! Such a scene I do 
not expect to have the privilege very often of witnessing. 
" Can such sinners be saved ?" To be sure they can, 
while the blood of the slain Lamb retains its power, and 
the Holy Ghost its efficiency, and the Triune God his 
mercy. "All things are possible with God," and "to 
him that believeth." 

This one conversion is worth all the expense and labor 
that have been bestowed on our Mission. Not only be- 
cause of the value of an immortal soul, but also on ac- 
count of the influence it has exerted in her own family, 
and upon her relatives and neighbors. 

One conversion that resulted from this, which I regard 
_ as a triumph for our Mission, I will name. 

It was that of an old man from England, who, for 
many years, had been a miserable drunkard. This poor 

186 sorrow's circuit. 

old sinner told me he had heard Adam Clark and his in- 
tellectual compeers of the Old World preach. But after 
all his privileges in the Old World, and his opportunities 
of hearing these great D.Ds., he was brought to Christ, 
and now has a hope of heaven, through the instrumen- 
tality and humble efforts of the Bedford Street Mission 
of Philadelphia. 

This old man is yet living a Christian life, after all 
his struggles and trials with poverty and sickness.l^ He 
stands before the church and the world as a living monu- 
ment of the " power of God to save to the uttermost all 
that come to him through Christ." And though he suf- 
fers from the infirmities of age, being about seventy 
years old, yet he maintains a steady trust in God, and is 
cherishing the hope that through Christ he shall be ena- 
bled ultimately to overcome the world, the flesh, and the 
devil, and to shout with the redeemed around the throne 
of God. Nor shall he be disappointed, if he continues 
to trust in Christ, for, as the Poet has well expressed it, 

*' The bruised reed he never breaks, 
Nor scorns the meanest name." 




MISSED BY Frank Leslie. 

How fearful often are the judgments inflicted by the 
Almighty upon the wicked ; and how suddenly and ter- 
ribly do they ofttimes make their approach ! 

One Friday evening, a man under the influence of li- 
quor stopped before our Mission-house, during the pro- 
gress of our religious exercises, and tried to annoy us by 
the utterance of a multitude of the most wicked oaths. 
After having vented his spleen on us to his heart's con- 
tent, he wended his way homeward, as well as a drunken 
man could, and after entering his hovel, he carefully 
locked himself in. 

Nothing more was seen or heard of him until the 
"Wednesday following, when his friends, becoming uneasy, 
broke open his door, and such a sight as greeted them 
no pen of mine can picture. He was doubled up in the 
fire-place, dead, and his bones completely bared by the rats. 

188 sorrow's circuit. 

"What a death for an immortal being ! Whether the 
rats killed him while sleeping off his potations of bad 
whiskey, or, watching him until he died, then set to by 
hundreds in horrid feasting, for several days, until his 
bones were perfectly cleaned of the flesh, I know not ; 
but that ghastly sight yet makes me shudder. 

But I have another melancholy incident to record. 
It is the sad end of a woman ! ! ! who recently wandered 
into Baker street. She was not a common loafeP^ at 
least, she had not the appearance of one, for they carry 
the sign manual, invariably. But she got drunk in a very 
few hours after she made her debut among the loafers 
of this vile whiskey-drinking district. And while under 
the influence of her unnatural potations she lay down in a 
court in Baker street one night in an unconscious state. 
In the morning, sad to relate ! she was found with her 
throat cut and her body much eaten by the rats. And 
thus ingloriously ended the life of a woman, who was 
respectably connected, and who might have shone in 
society, and after a life of usefulness, died honored and 
respected by all, and with a hope of a blissful inheri- 
tance in heaven. 

But, readcT, I am afraid you will sicken at these re- 
citals, and yet I mus|; ask you to read another. 

In my visits one day, among the haunts of dissipation 
and crime, I found a woman who was, perhaps, not more 


tlian thirty years of age, though her haggard and care-worn 
appearance indicated that she was fifty. She was evidently 
under the influence of liquor, but not so drunk as I had 
seen her before. I approached her and offered to help 
her in any way that I could. " What a shame," said I, 
" that you have to make the street and the curbstone 
your home!" 

" I have no place to stay, Mr. Sewell ; they drove me 
out of that place," pointing to a cow-stable close by. 
The owners of this stable, I suppose, drove her out for 
fear she would die there, and then the Coroner's inquest 
would unfold some more pictures for "Frank Leslie's 
swill milk illustrations." For that cow-stable was the 
kitchen of the house in front, and in that kitchen were 
kept tjiree cows and a horse almost knee deep in dirt. 
And yet in this wretched place this poor woman had 
lived, or rather staid, for several months, and here 
doubtless she would have remained and perished had she 
not been forcibly ejected by the owners. 

Well, we offered to care for her as well as we could ; 
but while we were talking with her, she, in her endeavors 
to hide her almost naked body with an old greasy shawl, 
exhibited a black bottle. 

" Now you must throw away that bottle," said I, "or 
I can do nothing for you. Give me that whiskey, and I 
will make you comfortable." But she absolutely refused, 

190 sorrow's circuit. 

and asking the crowd, who stood by, to help her, she 
dragged herself slowly along Shippen street; choosing 
rather to lay in a cow-stable, or, as the prospect now 
seemed, on the street, with her whiskey bottle, than to 
enjoy a good shelter and a good bed without it. 

On the following day she was removed from the steps 
of a burning building at the corner of Seventh and 
Shippen streets to save hesr life, and thence taken by the 
Police to the station house, where she-died in a few hours. 

These are not isolated cases, dear reader, but only a 
sample of the terrible wickedness, and degradation, and 
misery concentrated in the very heart of " the Quaker 

It is indeed painful to pen these sad scenes, and much 
more so to know that many a mother, or sister, or„father, 
or brother, is now sitting weeping over the lost ones here 
referred to. Many a family are hiding themselves from 
the world for very shame, in consequence of the profli- 
gacy of the husband and father. And many a husband, 
too, is sitting weeping with his offspring while the mother 
of his little ones is drunk on these streets, or locked up 
as a vagrant in Moyamensing prison, or living with some 
dirty negro. (" I speak that I do know, and testify that 
I have seen.") And these suffering ones, ever before 
our imagination, seem to say to us by their looks, " Oh, 


sir, can you do nothing to save my prodigal boy, or hus- 
band, or wife, or daughter?" 

All this picture have I beheld with an aching heart. 
The outlines of it must here suffice. The details would 
not, could not be read, or tolerated by the chaste ; nor, 
indeed, would they be believed, if written, by those who 
have never had a view of this infected region, in which 
vice in all its varied forms abounds, and its sad and 
blighting effects, on the happiness and hopes of man, are 
ever exhibited. 



" The drunkavd wastes away his strength 
For that which does no good ; 
He madly drinks, and sees, at length, 
His children pine for food. 
• " And when, at lust, he comes to die, 
He shrieks in wild affright ; 
For snaky fiends are gathering nigh, 
Hell opens to his sight." 

192 sorrow's circuit. 



• Reader, you have before you on the opposile page a 
tolerable sketch of the face and dress of poor "Little 
Katy," as given by the artist. I now wish to present 
to you some incidents in the history of this little girl and 
her family, that could not be drawn by the pencil of the 

"Her family, did you say? Why she looks as though 
she had almost sprung up by chance, and had been left in 
Baker street to show what miserable specimens of handi- 
work chance produces." 

But this is not the case, as you will see if you go with 
me round into Baker street, and up one of its filthy 
courts. Here is a miserable hovel, hardly worthy the 
name of a house, located right along-side of a pig-pen, 
and surrounded with slop-barrels and the nauseating 
refuse that has been gathered up in the streets for the 
occupants of the filthy pen. " And this is Katy's home, 




is it ?" Yes, all the home she has ; a wretched one in- 
deed, because it is the home of the intemperate. 

But let us enter, and take a view of its appearance and 
inmates. I cannot ask you to sit down, for there are no 
chairs here, and a seat on the floor would not be so com- 
fortable, for it looks as though it had not been cleaned 
since it was done four years ago by order of the Board 
of Health. By the way, it would not be amiss for the 
worthy Board to pass round this way again. But here 
is a rickety stairway leading to the attic ; but we have 
no business up there just now, as that is occupied by 
another family. Just stand where you are, and you 
will see enough to show you that Katy's home is not the 
most comfortable imaginable. 

Here is a drunken woman, to begin with, a young 
woman, who three years ago moved in respectable so- 
ciety. But alas ! how fallen and degraded now ! 

And here is another, an old offender, whose bloated 
face and blackened eyes, and rag-covered body indicate 
the depth of infamy to which she is sunken, for rum and 
rags go hand in hand. The one destroys all virtue, the 
other takes away all 8elf-respect ; while both unite in ex- 
cluding the unfortunate victim from all honest and 
honorable associations. 

But here is another, hid away in the corner, who has 

still some sense of shame left. She is the mother of 

194 sorrow's circuit. 

three beautiful claildren, from which she has been en- 
ticed by the demon of rum. Poor woman ! she has been 
wandering about from one grog-shop to another, drink- 
ing pennj-a-glass whiskey, till she is well nigh ruined. 
Oh, that some kind hand could again lead her back to 
her home and to her children ! 

And here, too, are two ragged coloreOTmen. Don't 
be alarmed, and scold because of the unnatural amalga- 
mation here exhibited. It is a common thing in this 
locality. Rum has made it so. Little Katy, you see, 
manifests no concern about it. She is accustomed to it, 
indeed has never seen much else. But as the children, 
with the exception of Katy, are all out either playing or 
begging, we will not stay longer in this wretched hovel, 
but pass out into the open air, where I will tell you some 
things in relation to this family with which you will be 
better pleased than you have been with their home. 

Four years and a half ago our worthy President, E. 
S. Yard, prevailed on the parents of Katy to allow him 
to take her elder brother to a pleasant home in another 
State. He was placed in a kind family, where he has 
been treated as one of their own children, and where, I 
am glad to say, he has demeaned himself so well as to 
merit their confidence and respect. 

And best of all, he has given his heart to God, is a 
worthy member of the Christian church, is storing his 


mind witli religious knowledge, and is even looking to 
the Ministry as his future calling. And what a transi- 
tion would this be, from Baker street to the pulpit! 
from the corrupting associations of the intemperate and 
the licentious, to the purer atmosphere of the sanctuary 
and of the sacred desk ! God grant that his hopes and 
aspirations may be fully realized, and that he may ever 
remain, as he now is, a monument of the utility of " the 
Bedford Street Mission !" 

But we are not done with this family yet. A youno-er 
brother of the one referred to, a bright-eyed, well-built, 
intelligent looking boy, has been placed in the country, 
and is now learning to be a farmer. He is very active, 
learns rapidly, stands at the head of his class at school, 
and is withal cheerful and happy. He too, though 
taken from amidst the filth of Baker street, promises to 
be a diamond of the first water, which, I trust, will one 
day glitter in the diadem of Jesus. 

I regret that we cannot give you in this connection 
also the picture of Katy's sister Molly. She is indeed 
quite pretty, but I am sorry to say, young as she still 
is, she used to get drunk when we first became ac- 
quainted with her family. But, poor thing ! she must 
not be censured too severely ; for such was her occupa- 
tion, and such were the associations with which she was 
surrounded, that it could hardly be otherwise than that 

196 soRnow's circuit. 

she should learn to drink. When yet a very little girl, 
she was forced to go out and beg cold victuals ; not to 
supply the wants of the family, but to barter away at 
the "grub-shops," as they are called, for whiskey. 
What wonder, then, that she was induced to taste that 
precious stuflf which cost her so much labor, and that she 
continued to taste it until she grew fond of it, and be- 
came a little sot ? 

But we determined, if possible, to save this pretty but 
unfortunate little girl ; and, accordingly, we applied to 
her father for permission to take her to the country. 
This, he positively refused to grant, unless we would 
first pay him, as a compensation I suppose for her ser- 
vices, ten dollars. 

This demand for purchase money placed us in a di- 
lemma. For we were not sure that we had the right, as 
missionary and as almoner for the society, to use the 
money in this way ; and besides this, our discipline for- 
bids the bartering of church members in human flesh 
ai^d blood. But our difficulty was soon relieved. A 
respected member of the Society of Friends, a libera) 
contributor for the support of the day-school connected 
with our work, learning the state of the case, promptly 
paid over the money for her purchase, asserting that it 
would be right to remove the child from such a den as 
she was then in at almost any price. For the family 


then lived in a deep, damp cellar, which had neither 
floor, fireplace, nor chimney; and in which there was 
neither table, chair, nor bed ; a pile of shavings in one 
corner answering for both seat and bed. 

With the money in hand, we went and consummated 
the bargain for Molly as soon as possible. Yes, we 
bought her from her besotted father for ten dollars. 

Now I hope Mrs. Mott and Mrs. Smith and Co. will 
not censure us too severely. For if they do, we Avill 
push forward our Quaker friend, and take refuge behind 
him. For he gave us the money, and — and — and — we 
may as well confess it, we made the purchase. 

But I am sure they will not scold when we tell them 
that we have since set her free. Yes, Molly has been 
freed from the society of Baker street, from the wretched 
employment of a beggar, from the blighting influence of 
drunken parents, and I trust also from the tyranny of a 
depraved appetite that must have rendered her the most 
abject slave through life, and then encompassed her in 
chains of darkness through eternity. Did we do right ? 
I am sure you will say, yes. 

But though the purchase of Molly had been effected, 
we had not yet succeeded in getting her into a new 
home. The father, in the mean while, took the Mania 
a PotUf and was removed to the Alms-house, where ho 

198 sorrow's circuit. 

died in great misery, fighting with imaginary rats, and 
snakes, and devils. 

We then had to renew our contract with the intem- 
perate mother. After some little delay, all was ready, 
and we started with Molly to the home we had pro- 
vided for her in the country, more than a hundred miles 
from the city. On reaching the place, Molly was de- 
lighted with what she saw, and wanted at once to be em- 
ployed in milking the cows and making butter. When 
I came down stairs the next morning, sure enough, I 
found her at the churn making butter. Looking up in 
my face, she said, " Mr. Sewell, I'm making butter ; 
aint it nice work ?" 

" Yes indeed it is, Molly. I wish I could live down 
here too ; it's so pleasant, and every thing smells so 
sweetly. It isn't like Bedford street here, is it ? 

"No, indeed, it aint, I'm glad I'm here. But you 
must let my mother come down and see me, won't you ?" 

" To be sure I will. She may come down next sum- 
mer, if she will. But whether she comes or not, I will 
come and see you." 

Poor Molly is quite happy now> in her new home, is 
out of the way of her old associates, and is free from her 
old vices. May she grow up to be a respectable, a good, 
and a useful woman. 

Since her removal we have also sent her youngest 


brother to a place -within four miles of her present resi- 

And now none remain but poor Katy and her wretched 
mother. And we are offering to buy Katy at even a 
higher price than that paid for her sister ; but we have 
not yet gained the consent of her mother. 

She is possessed of such a sweet disposition, and is so 
mild and affable, that she would make a pleasant com- 
panion in any family to which she might be removed. 
And she would be quite pretty, too, if she could only be 
kept washed, and combed, and dressed. But, as it is, 
she cannot be trusted with more than one suit at a time. 
For even if the old one should be returned, when she 
gets a new one, her wretched mother would sell it for 

Such, reader, is poor little Katy's home, and such her 
present position. 

Christian mother, when you are tucking the bed- 
clothes around your precious jewels and kissing them good 
night; or standing with lamp in hand, you listen to see 
whether their breathing is natural ; or when kneeling 
beside their little bed, you present them to God and in- 
voke his blessing upon them, will you not bestow one 
thought on poor Katy, and breathe one prayer to heaven 
in her behalf? 
^ Christian father, while you are dandh'ng your little 

200 sorrow's circuit. 

daughter upon your knee, and listening to her childish 
prattle, and tracing in her face the outlines of her mo- 
ther's image ; or while ■with your family you bow around 
the family altar, and offer your prayers and thanksgiv- 
ings to your heavenly Father, who has given you so many 
mercies to enjoy, oh! will you not think of Katy, and 
her drunken mother, and offer one petition in their be- 
half ? And will you not teach your children to pray for 
Katy, too, and to sympathize with all who, like her, have 
been cursed with drunken parents ? 




Since the foregoing chapter concerning Katy and her 
family was written, a great change has come over her 
circumstances and prospects. Katy has at last been res- 
cued from the baneful influences with which she was sur- 
rounded in Baker street, and is now safe in a pleasant 
home in the country, far removed from the scenes of her 
temptation and suffering. 

The circumstances attending this change in Katy's 
fortune, have been so graphically presented by a writer 
in the " Mission Journal" for June of the present year, 
that I shall take the liberty of quoting the entire article, 
instead of attempting a description of my own. 

The writer says, 

" No one who has read the first number of the ' Mis- 
sion Journal' can forget the history of 'little Katy,' and 
the thought of her, in her miserable home, has disquieted 
the feelings of many a kind heart. 

202 sorrow's circuit. 

"It -will doubtless be gratifying to those rho bave 
been touched with sympathy for her sorrows, to know 
that a great change has taken place in her circumstances, 
since the history referred to was given to our readers. 
Tor some months past her mother had been at work, 
binding shoes, and Katy had something to eat ; while 
each day found her in her place at school, the merriest 
child in all the crowd, singing, and laughing, as happy 
children only can. 

" Suddenly her mother grew tired of work, and with 
the pennies in her possession bought rum instead of 
bread, and now Katy was forced out upon the street 
to beg. Soon word came that she had been arrested and 
placed in the 'Southern Home for Friendless Children.' 

" Her teachers wept tears of joy, that she was at last 
rescued from her horrid home. And then the question 
was asked. Whose hands will she fall into now ? We 
have loved her, watched over, and spoken kindly to her ; 
but will those to whose care she is entrusted see anything 
in our Katy to love ? Will they remember that she has 
an immortal soul to save ? Will they remind her of the 
lessons she has learned in the Mission school ? Or will 
she be treated only as a servant, and spend her days in 
fqp'getfulness of God, and miss of heaven at last? And 
our hearts were sad until we committed her cause to Him 
who ever hears his children when they pray ; and while 


it was sweetlj brought to our remembrance that he loved 
this little girl so much as to give his Son to die for her 
we rested in the assurance that a,ll would be well. 

"A few days after, a Christian lady called at our 
school and asked for little Katj. She wished to take 
her to live on a farm near her sister, which was just what 
we desired. 

"In company with our Missionary, we visited the in- 
stitution in which she had been placed. She was over- 
joyed to see us, and quite willing to go with the lady. 
Arrangements were entered into, and our dear little girl 
is now in her new home, far removed from the corrupt- 
ing scenes by which she has been surrounded since first 
she had a being. 

"More than six years have passed away since the 
writer of this article, in company with the President of 
our Mission, paid the first visit to Katy's family, which 
then consisted of eight persons; the father and mother 
with six children. Tlie youngest child was soon after 
removed by death, before it had learned to sin. The fa- 
ther, too, has been summoned to meet his Maker, while 
the five remaining children have been placed in Christian 
families where they are being educated for usefulness ; 
leaving the mother alone in her degradation. Much ef- 
fort has been put forth to save her ; but the power of 
habit is so strong, that I fear she will die as she has lived. 

204 sorrow's circuit. 

" When we look over the past, and recall the difficul- 
ties that have been encountered in getting possession of 
these children, we render sincere thanks to our heavenly 
Father for the success which has attended our labor, 
knowing full well, that without his blessing our efforts 
would have been in vain." 




There are few of the charitable but what have found 
that, in some instances, their benefactions have been mis- 
applied, and have proved to be curses rather than bless- 
ings to the recipients. This has had a tendency to close 
up the avenues to their hearts, to make them look with 
suspicion upon all applications for aid, and, sometimes, 
even to refuse to help those who are most worthy, and 
who are driven by the sternest necessity to ask alms. 

I admit that but little good can arise from indiscrim- 
inate alms-giving. Idleness and vice are more frequently 
encouraged thereby, than want is relieved. But this is 
no reason why we should not give with proper discrimi- 
nation. Perhaps none are more likely to be imposed on 
by idle, worthless, lying vagrants, than Benevolent So- 
cieties ; and yet these societies, by exercising a proper' 
discrimination in the bestowment of their gifts, have it 
in their power to relieve a vast amount of suffering 

206 sorrow's circuit. 

among the worthy foor^ and, indeed, to accomplish a 
great deal in the way of reforming those who are dissi- 
pated and wicked. For it is a fact apparent to all who 
have carefully studied human nature, that the good 
qualities, lying dormant in the worst of men, can more 
readily be roused by an act of kindness than by any 
other means. 

The following incident will serve as an illustration of 
this remark : 

Four winters ago, a clean, tidy looking woman came 
to my house to ask clothes for her two boys, who were 
in a suffering condition for want of them. She had evi- 
dently seen better days ; and the blush on her cheek as 
she made her request indicated that she deeply felt her 
present degradation, and only yielded to the direst ne- 
cessity. But it was the old story ; rum^ rum had done 
it all. The husband had been a master-mechanic, en- 
gaged in a prosperous business, and esteemed and re- 
spected by all who knew him. But in an unguarded 
moment he had yielded to the tempter, and then little 
by little had departed from the path of sobriety and vir- 
tue, until he became a miserable sot, neglecting his bu- 
siness and his family, and by his misconduct forfeiting 
•the esteem and respect of all his friends. 

An older son still had employment at one dollar and 
a half per week ; and this was all the poor family had to 


depend upon, save the little that the unfortunate wife 
and mother Avas able to earn at the wash-tub. Both the 
boys for whom clothing was solicited had been pupils in 

the Sabbath-school ; but now they were unable to go 

for want of suitable clothing. This grieved both the 
mother and the poor lads, and made them sigh for a re- 
turn of the former days, when they had enough for 
themselves, and something to spare also for others who 
were needy. And besides this, the poor boy that worked 
was so thinly clad, that he sometimes almost perished as 
he went forth to meet the fierce winter's blast. 

But to procure new and warm clothes was out of the 
question, for it required all his scanty earnings to pay 
the rent of the house they lived in, and thus prevent 
the whole family from being turned out in the pitiless 

Thus matters stood at the time the mother ventured 
to come to me, and disclose her sad circumstances. 
She only asked for two suits of clothes for her younger 
boys. These, of course, were promptly given ; and the 
little fellows were once more warm and comfortable. 

For three years we heard nothing more of the clothes 
or their recipients, till, at length, a married daughter 
called at our house, in May 1858, expressly to tell us 
the history and result of our little benefaction. 

She said, that when her father retui-ned that evening 

208 sorrow's circuit. 

from some low groggery, considerably under the influence 
of liquor as usual, he immediately noticed the altered 
appearance of his boys, and seemed for a moment puz- 
zled to know what it meant. At length, discovering 
the true cause in the comfortable suits they had on, he 
turned to his wife and sternly asked, "Where did these 
come from ?" She frankly replied, " Mr. Sewell gave 
them to me ;" and, anticipating a regular tirade of 
abuse from her intoxicated husband, she immediately be- 
gan to apologize. But without seeming to notice her 
apology, he turned and looked again at his boys ; and 
then, raising his hand toward heaven, and appealing to 
his Maker to attest his sincerity, he promised in the 
most solemn manner that he would never again touch 
the intoxicating cup. 

This promise he had now most sacredly kept for more 
than three years, and in the mean while, he had become 
an humble and devoted Christian, and a respected and 
useful member of the church. 

The idea that his children had become beggars, and 
that as such they had been clothed by the charitable, 
roused anew all the better qualities of his nature, which 
for a long time had been paralyzed by rum, and made 
him resolve that he would once more be a man, and 
with his own hand support his once happy but now beg- 
gared family. 


Thus with these two suits of second-handed clothing 
this whole family were saved. True, the wife and chil- 
dren were not yet lost ; but who can say what influence 
poverty and the sad example of a drunken husband and 
father might have had upon them in after years, had not 
the whole current of their fortune been turned by these 
humble gifts of charity ? 

Now this family are again prosperous and happy, and 
the most of them esteemed members of the church of 
Jesus Christ. Long may they enjoy the comforts that 
now surround them, and may they never again feel the 
bitings of poverty, or the sad and blighting effects of 

And may we, encouraged by this little incident, con- 
tinue to use that entrusted to our care by our heavenly 
Father, in relieving the wants of our fellow men, and in 
endeavoring to lead them to Christ. 

" Whate'er our willing hands can give, 
Lord, at thy feet we lay ; 
Grace will the humble gift receive, 
And grace at length repay." 


210 sorrow's circuit. 



How sadly do these -words fall upon the ear as they 
come from the lips of the dying sinner, "i" am about to 
die J and yet am not ready!" 

I shall never forget the case of a young man whose 
end I witnessed not long since. He was one of those 
unfortunate victims of vice and intemperance, who, after 
disgracing their friends and almost breaking theii- hearts, 
hide themselves away amid the filth of Baker street, and 
here meet with an early and an inglorious end. He had 
left a comfortable home and an amiable wife, and had 
given himself up to unbridled licentiousness. But God 
had determined that his race should be short, for disease 
had fastened upon him, and death was already approach- 

Being called on one evening to visit him, 1 found him 
lying in great agony upon a bed of straw, in one corner 
of a room about ten feet square, which was occupied for 


the night, by eight persons beside himself. These looked 
on "with a stupid, half idiotic stare, "while we sung and 
prayed with the poor fellow, who was calling loudly on 
God for mercy. 

When I told him that his pulse indicated the near ap- 
proach of death, he looked wildly at me, and asked, " Do 
you, indeed, think I am dying ?" "Yes, sir," I replied, 
" I think you have but a very few hours to live, and that 
you should earnestly call upon God for mercy ; for he is, 
indeed, a merciful God, not willing that any should per- 
ish, but that all should repent and live." 

"With agonized look, and in the most mournful tones, 
he then cried out, " my God ! has it come to this ? 
Death come, and I'm not ready — not ready ! Oh, what 
shall I do ? — what shall I do ? my God, what shall I 
do ? Struck with death, and not ready ! Lord, have 
mercy upon my poor soul. Oh, did I ever think I should 
come to this ? Dying and not ready ! Lord be merciful 

We tried to hold up before him a risen Saviour ; but 
he could not see him, or claim him as Ms Saviour. His 
faith was too weak, his heart too hard, and his moral 
sensibilities too much blunted by sin, to allow him to do 
so. And thus he died, conscious that he was going into 
the presence of God, and yet fully aware that he was 
not ready to obey the summons. Should the eyes of some 


youth, who has already started in the downward course, 
chance to fall upon this page, let him take warning from 
this sad circumstance, lest he too be obliged to take up 
the doleful lamentation in his last hour, ^^ Dying ^ and yet 
not ready!'* 





" Father, I bring a wortliless child to thee, 
To claim thy pardon, once, yet once again. 
Receive him from my hands, for he is mine. — 
He is a worthless child — he owns his guilt. 
Look not on him, — he will not bear thy glance : 
Look but on me, — I'll hide his filthy garments. 
He pleads not for himself : he dares not plead : — 
His cause is mine — I am his intercessor. 
By that unchanged, unchanging oath of mine, 
By each pure drop of blood I lost for him, 
By all the sorrows graven on my soul. 
By every wound I bear, I claim it due. 
Father Divine ! I would not have him lost ; 
He is a worthless child, but he is mine. 
Sin hath destroyed him — Sin hath died in me : 
Satan hath bound him — Satan is my slave : 
Death hath desired him — I have conquered death. 

214 sorrow's circuit. 

I could not bear to see him cast away — 
Vile as he is — the weakest of my flock — 
The one who grieves me most — that loves me least. 
Yea, though his sins should dim each spark of love, 
I measure not my love by his returns. 
He has no home, no right, but in my love ; 
Though earth and hell combined against him rise, 
I'm bound to rescue him — For this I died." 
The foregoing lines, quoted from Putnam's Magazine, 
are of thrilling importance to the poor backslider. 

"What!" says one, "do your converts backslide? 
Ah ! that was my fear, that these poor creatures, if con- 
verted, would not be able to hold out. I am afraid that 
the money spent on this Mission is money thrown away, 
money that might be expended elsewhere to better ad- 

Hold, my friend, not too fast in forming your unfavor- 
able conclusions in regard to the results of our work. 
Where are the two hundred probationers that you re- 
ceived into the church last winter, whom you announced 
to the world through our great Church organ, the Chris- 
tian Advocate and Journal, as having come from among 
the respectable and intelligent portion of the community ? 
I ask. Where are they ? For, though the usual term of 
probationship has passed, but few of them have been re- 
ceived into the church. " Were there not ten cleansed, but 


where are the nine ?" And if your respectable and intel- 
ligent converts fall away, what can be expected of ours, 
who are taken from the sinks of Baker street, where, as 
a general thing, there is neither intelligence nor respec- 
tability ? 

But, thank God, we are enabled to save some, not- 
withstanding many do fall away and perish. 

But I began this chapter with the intention of bring- 
ing before the reader the history of one of our back- 

Mary H. was born and reared in the Roman Catholic 
church, and, as is unfortunately too common in the 
country from which she came, she had early learned to 
take a social glass of "potyeen" (whiskey,) and some- 
times even to get a little boozy over it. But this was 
no great oflFence in her estimation, and the repeating of a 
few ^^ Ave Marias,'' or '■^ Pater Nosters,'" would remove 
very speedily all sense of guilt from her conscience. 

By some means this poor woman was led to attend 
our meetings, where she heard the Gospel preached 
plainly and with simplicity. The word at length took 
hold of her heart, and she presented herself as a peni- 
tent at our altar for prayer and advice. But it was 
difficult for her to throw away at once the results of her 
superstitious ' training, for ever and anon we would find 
her repeating her prayers to the " blessed Virgin" whom 

216 sorrow's circuit. 

she had been taught to recognize as the great mediator 
between herself and her God. At last, however, she 
was led to adopt right views upon this subject, and then 
with streaming eyes and outstretched hands she cried, 
" Lord, for Christ's sake have mercy on me." God 
heard and answered that prayer, and made her unspeak- 
ably happy in a sense of his pardoning love. Her very 
countenance beamed with the glory she felt within, and 
with her lips she praised God for his wonderful conde- 

In a short time she connected herself with our Mis- 
sion-church, after which she went to live with an excel- 
lent Presbyterian family, who took a great interest in 
her spiritual welfare, and did all they could to encourage 
and keep her in the good way. For nearly six months 
she remained faithful, giving great satisfaction to the fam- 
ily with which she lived, while she was constant in her 
attendance at the class-room, and in the performance of 
other religious duties. But an hour of trial came, and 
poor Mary fell. 

An excursion of our school to Media, Del. Co., had 
been planned, but I was not aware that any except the 
children were going. On reaching the Mission-house 
that morning I was met by Mary G., who asked me for 
a ticket. I informed her that I had no ticket, and be- 
sides that, I did not know that any adults were going 


along. She replied, "Yes, there are a number going; 
but it makes no difference, for I do not wish to go where 
I am not wanted." With this I went to make inquiry 
with regard to the matter, and while I was going, Mary 
left the building. 

The excursion shortly after left for the country, where 
all spent a happy day. But what was our surprise, on 
returning in the evening, to 2nd poor Mary drunk ! My 
heart was indeed sad as I looked upon this fallen one, 
and thought of her happy conversion, and of her faith- 
fulness during the past six months, and I grieved to 
think how quickly Satan had undone all our work with 
reference to her, and had blasted all our hopes. 

We took care of her for the night, and in the morn- 
ing she returned to her place of employment, deeply 
mortified and sorely grieved in consequence of her fall. 
She sent word to me during that week that she was com- 
ing to confess to me and to the cJmrcJi, and would on the 
next Sabbath evening go to the altar again and pray for 
forgiveness. We at once sent the messenger back to say 
to her that we did not believe in confessing to man, but 
that we would be most happy to see her at the altar 
making her confession to God in the presence of the 

And sure enough, poor Mary came at the appointed 
time, and while Rev. T. K. Peterson was preaching, she 

218 sorrow's circuit. 

went forward to the altar, and with bitter tears and 
agonizing cries besought God to have mercy on her, 
and to restore unto her the joys of his salvation. We 
assured her, that, as God had no pleasure in the death 
of the wicked, but was anxious that they should repent 
and live, he would not turn away from her, or refuse to 
hear her cry, if she continued to ask in the name of 
Jesus. Encouraged by this assurance, she laid hold of 
the promises of God, and while pleading those promises, 
the blessing .came, the blessed Comforter was given, and 
the sweet assurance followed, " Daughter, thy sins are 
all forgiven ! Go in peace and sin no more." 

And she never did sin any more, for G-od took her. 
Soon after she obtained the blessing, overpowered, as it 
were, by the weight of that glory which beamed upon 
her countenance and trembled on her lips, she fell back 
and for some time lay helpless. But this did not sur- 
prise us, as we had often seen the like before. But 
when we came to raise her up at the close of the meet- 
ing, we found that, although she was conscious, yet she 
was unable either to stand or sit without help. But to 
all our inquiries she replied, " My soul is happy, I feel 
that Jesus loves me, though I do not deserve it." 

As she was unable to go home, we left her in the 
office of the Mission-house, in care of several women 
who volunteered to remain with her. Much of the night 


she lay in a kind of half-sleep, her countenance indicat- 
incr that her soul was calm and peaceful, while her lips 
ever and anon were heard to utter, " I am happy— I am 


Towards morning the women who were watching by 
her side, apprehending no danger, fell asleep ; but on 
awaking, they found poor Mary in the agonies of death, 
and in a few moments her spirit was gone. 

" She had no home, no right, but in my love. 
Though earth and hell combined against her rise, 
I'm bound to rescue her: — For this 1 died.'" 

And He did rescue her by removing her quickly from 
this scene of temptation and trial, to that better coun- 
try where temptations and sin will never disturb her 


In about twelve hours after her death she began to 
turn purple on the back of her neck, and the Coroner's 
jury decided that she came to her death by apoplexy. 
But the Catholics said it was the judgment of the Al- 
mighty that had fallen upon her, because she had be- 
come a heretic, and that all who pursued a similar course 
mi'^ht expect to meet with the same fearful end ; and 
thus they sought to intimidate their people from attend- 
ing our meetings, or embracing our religion. 

In due time the body of poor Mary, encased in a 

220 sorrow's circuit. 

beautiful coflSn, furnished by our brother and fellow 
laborer, Rev. B. H. Kollock, was taken into the church, 
and over it a funeral sermon was preached to a large 
and deeply affected congregation. Thence we moved 
in solemn procession to the Cemetery, where we deposited 
the remains of this unfortunate, but redeemed sister, 
who had been " plucked as a brand from the burning." 

" Lo ! the pris'ner is released, 
Lighten'd of her fleshly load ; 
Where the weary are at rest, 
She is gathered unto God ! 

Lo ! the pain of life is past, 

All her warfare now is o'er : 
Death and hell behind are cast, 

Grief and suff'ring are no more." 




How apt we are to murmur at the providence of God, 
especially, when we see the " wicked flourishing like the 
green bay- tree !" We are ready to say with David, 
under similar circumstances, " Behold these are the un- 
godly, who prosper in the world; they increase in 
riches ; they are not in trouble as other men ; nei- 
ther are they plagued like other men ; their eyes 
stand out with fatness, and they have more than 
heart could wish ; they have no bands in their death ; 
but their strength is firm. Verily, I have cleansed 
my heart in vain, and washed my hands in inno- 
cency. For all the day long have I been plagued, 
and chastened every morning." And it is not until we 
go into the Sanctuary of God, or into the chamber of 
the sick and dying, that we learn to contemplate as we 
should the perilous condition of the prosperous sinner, 
and the far more envious position of the humble Chris- 

222 sorrow's circuit. 

tian, even while passing througli scenes of adversity, 
poverty, and affliction. 

But it is not so easy for us always to realize that " the 
little that the poor man hath is better than the riches 
of many wicked," and that " Godliness with contentment 
is great gain." Poverty brings with it its temptations 
and its snares, and many, it is to be feared, fall before 
the storm of adversity, or perish in the traps of the 
devil. " Poverty," said a man in one of our Love-feasts, 
"has proved my ruin : it made me do things I shall always 
regret. For I once enjoyed the favor of God and fel- 
lowship wiih his saints, but in my extreme poverty I fell, 
and now I can only ask you to pray for a poor hack- 

Yes, extreme poverty has its temptations, as well as 
riches and prosperity, and we may hence, with great pro- 
priety, all join in that beautiful prayer of Agur, " Give 
me neither poverty nor riches ; but feed me with food 
convenient for me ; lest I be full, and deny thee, and 
say. Who is the Lord ? or lest I be poor, and steal, and 
take the name of my God in vain." 

But poverty is not always a curse. When its tempta- 
tions are resisted, and its trials are patiently borne, it 
becomes an excellent school to the Christian, and by 
furnishing the brightest examples of humility and con- 


tentment, it often proves a blessing to the church and 
to the world. 

The truth of this remark will be illustrated by the 
following incident : 

One stormy evening in the middle of winter, I was sent 
for to visit a sick woman whom I had not before seen. 
I hastened to obey the summons, and was soon at the 
door of her humble dwellino; knocking; for admission. 
On entering, I found the room scantily furnished, but 


quite neat and clean. But all was cold and cheerless, 
for they were without fire, without fuel, and destitute of 
bread ; and on every countenance despair seemed to be 
depicted, save on that of the suffering woman, who lay 
on a thin bed on the floor in one corner of the room. 

On approaching her, I asked if she was a lover of 
Jesus. She immediately looked up, and turning her 
large black eyes upon me, replied, "0 yes, sir, I love 
Jesus. I gave my heart to him long ago." 

After some further conversation with her, with refer- 
ence to her suffering and her enjoyments, we sung a 
hymn and had prayer together, after which I hastened 
off to get the relief which they so much needed. In a 
short time I was back again, with fuel for the fire, bread 
for the hungry, and a bedstead and comfortable bed for 
the poor Christian sufferer. And as I left them, at a 
late hour, happy and comfortable, I felt that the bless- 

224 sorrow's circuit. 

ings of those that were ready to perish had indeed come 
upon me, and that my Saviour who taught me by his 
holy example when upon earth, to go about doing good 
to the souls and bodies of men, was now more precious 
to my soul than ever before. 

In my subsequent visits to this saint of God during 
the three months that preceded her death, I learned 
from her, that, some twenty-five years before, she had 
married a man in the state of New Jersey, who proved 
to be a drunken, worthless fellow, spending his time about 
taverns in the company of the dissolute, and wholly ne- 
glecting his wife, whom he had sworn to love, comfort, 
and support while life should last. 

When she was able she would work at the wash-tub, 
and when too feeble to do that, if she could find no other 
way of living, she would go to the Almshouse, and re- 
main there till her health was sufficiently restored to 
justify her in attempting again to support herself. And 
thus she had struggled along for many years, the last 
nine of which she had been nearly blind. But notwith- 
standing the complicated ills that surrounded her, she did 
not murmur at the lot which Providence had assigned 

Speaking one day of her poverty, and of the neglect 
of the church, which she attributed to an oversight 
rather than a design, she said. 


"Brother Scwell, it's all right. I believe this is the 
way I am to get to heaven ; for if I were rich I fear I 
should never get there : my proud heart could not bear 
prosperity, it would ruin me forever. I feel confident 
that this is the way that God intends to bring me to him- 
self. I could not be saved in any other." ^ 

And thus poor Alice taught my hitherto impatient 
heart a lesson which I trust I shall never forget. Would 
that its recital here might have the same effect, kind 
reader, upon your heart, which perchance is prone, like 
mine, sometimes to murmur at the providence of God ! 

I was privileged to be at the bed-side of this happy 

child of God when dying. I say privileged, for 

"The chamber where the good man meets his fate, 
Is privileged beyond the common walk 
Of virtuous life, quite 0I^ the verge of heaven." 

When I went into her room I saw that death was about 
to strike the final blow. Her sight was already gone ; 
but when she heard my voice, she said, " brother, I 
am glad you have come." "Well, Alice," said I, "how 
is it with you now ? Is all well ?" 

" Oh, yes ; blessed be the name of the Lord, I can 
read my title clear to a mansion in the sky. I shall soon 
be where Jesus is." 

We then sung several hymns, and offered several 

prayers in her behalf, that God, even her God, Avould 

226 sorrow's circuit. 

still be with her, and would vouchsafe unto his handmaid 
his presence and favor, even now, while she was passing 
"through the valley of the shadow of death." And 
these prayers were answered ; for she soon passed sweetly 
away, exclaiming, almost with her dying breath, " God 
bless you, brother Sewell, I expect to meet you in 

And God has blessed me in answer to that prayer ever 
since. For day by day I feel the influence of this dying 
saint's benediction resting upon me. In the pulpit, in 
the street, in the sick room, in the home of the poor, 
everywhere, I seem to hear the gentle " God bless you" 
of that expiring Christian still echoing in my ear, and by it 
I am stimulated to energy and zeal in the performance of 
my Master's work. 

Poor Alice ! how cheerfully could her freed spirit, for 
which angels were in waiting, pausing for a moment near 
the clay tenement, exclaim, " Farewell, aching head, 
and fevered limbs, and sorrowing heart: — farewell, ye 
rags of poverty, thou cheerless home, and thou still more 
cheerless world, to all, farewell — we meet no more. I go 
on angels' wings to a land where poverty will never 
come, where hunger and cold will never be felt, and 
where the inhabitants shall never say they are sick. 
There I shall be clothed in a robe of purity, be crowned 
with a crown of glory, dwell in a mansion of light, eat 


of the tree of life, be surrounded with angels and the 
spirits of the blest, bask in the sun-light of God's coun- 
tenance, and join "vvith the unnumbered hosts that encir- 
cle the throne in ascribing glory, and honor, and praise, 
to the Triune God." 

Come then, ye sinless spirits, 

" Lend, lend your wings ! — I mount, I fly — 
Grave ! where is thy victory ? 
Death ! where is thy sting ?" 


" Happy soul, thy days are ended, 

All thy mourning days below ; 
Go, — by angel guards attended, — 

To the sight of Jesus go. 
Waiting to receive thy spirit, 

Lo ! the Saviour stands above ; 
Shows the purchase of his merit, 

Eeaches out the crown of love.'' 

228 sorrow's circuit. 



Charity, says one, begins at home. True, it begins 
there, but it must not stay there, or it will starve to 
death, or die for want of exercise. 

True charity looks abroad as well as at home, and is 
ready to relieve want and suffering wherever found. It 
does not stop to inquire how the sufferer came to his 
present position, whether by misfortune, or by improvi- 
dence, or by crime, or in some other way, but hastens 
to afford the needed relief, and remove, if possible, the 
present suffering. 

Were the members of the Young Men's Central Home 
Mission to restrict their charity to those who have 
been made poor by misfortune, or who have been 
afflicted wholly by the visitation of God, their work 
would soon be accomplished. But this they dare not 
do, while they remember that the Gospel of Jesus Christ 
inculcates a charity that reaches all men, however de- 


graded they may be, or however guilty for having 
brought that degradation upon themselves. Would that 
there was more of this large-hearteci charity in our 
world and in our city ! Then would such heaven-ap- 
proved agencies as the Bedford Street Mission be libe- 
rally supported, and its efforts consequently be crowned 
with large success. 

Then, too, would those who attempt to reform them- 
selves more frequently meet with encouragement, and 
receive that aid which is indispensable to their success. 

Many a man has been driven into intemperance and 
crime by the coldness and uncharitableness of the world. 
And many a child has been tempted to a life of sensu- 
ality and sin by the unkindness of those that they were 
associated with in life. 

In proof of this I have an instance at hand which I 
hope will do you good, and lead you to treat with more 
kindness and affection the children of misfortune that 
may hereafter come in your way. 

A young girl of delicate make,— the only decent one 
of seven children of a wicked mother and a drunken fa- 
ther, desiring to escape from the blighting influences of 
her unhappy home, asked and obtained work in a pri- 
vate family in the capacity of servant. 

But her new home was an unfortunate one ; for there 
was no sympathy there for the frail one, the only object 

230 sorrow's circuit. 

of the family seeming to be to get as much work as pos- 
sible out of her for the fifty cents per week which they 
had agreed to give her. Money was to them of more 
value than souls. 

In a little while she changed this uncongenial home 
for another. But this was no better. She could not 
do enough work to satisfy their cupidity. Her inability 
was attributed to laziness rather than its true cause, ill- 
health, and she was openly charged with a desire to get 
her bread without working for it, and finally was dis- 
missed from their service. 

This was too much for her sensitive nature ; the temp- 
ter took possession of her riven heart, and she yielded 
to his solicitations, and put forth her hand to steal that 
which she could not obtain by honest labor. She took 
from her late employer goods to the amount of about 
two dollars, was apprehended and taken before a jury, 
who found her guilty, and was then sentenced by the 
judge to 18 months' imprisonment in a convict's cell. 
While here she was attacked by that fatal malady, the 

At the end of her term she came forth to the world a 
poor, broken-hearted, emaciated being, into the darkness 
of whose soul not a single ray of hope seemed to pene- 

What was she to do ? If she were to ask for work, 


she would be required to furnish a recommendation from 
her last place of service ; but that had been in a felon's 
cell. Poor thing ! she knew not what to do, or where 
to go. In this state of perplexity she at last drew her 
shawl up closely around her face to prevent recognition, 
and then passed into a cellar among some shivering wo- 
men who were waiting for their little beggar children to 
return with cold victuals. 

Here we found poor Eliza lying on some pieces of old 
carpet which had been spread for her upon the cold 
damp floor. From this uncomfortable place we moved 
her as quickly as possible to the house of a poor Chris- 
tian woman, where she was made as comfortable as pos- 
sible. And I wish, kind reader, you could have seen 
her in her new home, as the cloud of despair and misan- 
thropy passed from her countenance before the light and 
genial warmth of a genuine Christian charity, and she 
was heard for the first time to say, " I wish I was a 

" And so you shall be, Eliza, if you will only repent 
of your sins and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ." 
And oh, how glad I felt that I Avas authorized by the 
word of God to ofier salvation to this poor child of mis- 
fortune and want ; to tell her that the vilest of the vile 
might come and partake of the waters of life freely, and 
even though her sins might be as scarlet or as crimson, 

232 sorrow's circuit. • 

the guilty stains could all be extracted by tbe blood of 
Christ ! 

With a penitent heart, and with quivering lips she 
went to the mercy-seat ; and there we joined her in ear- 
nest supplications, pleading the promises of God, and 
trusting in the blood of atonement, till at length we pre- 
vailed, and a blessing came down upon the prostrate 
penitent that filled her with unspeakable joy, and 
carried her safely at last over the swelling billows of 

And now, kind reader, which treatment was best ? 
The harsh words of the families referred to, the harsher 
sentence of the Court, or the soft words, the careful 
nursing, the cheap comforts, and the Christian counsel 
given her by the benevolent supporters of our Mission ? 
The former drove her to despair and a felon's cell, the 
latter led her to Christ and to heaven. Which was 
best ? 

" Thou, Christ, art all I want ; 

More than all iu thee I find ; 
Eaise the fallen, cheer the faint, 

Heal the sick, and lead the blind. 
False and full of sin I am ; 

Thou art full of truth and grace." 




Marriage is said to be " an estate instituted by the 
Almighty in the time of man's innocency — an estate 
sanctioned by the Saviour, and declared by the Apostle 
to be honorable among all men, and not, therefore, to be 
enterprized or taken in hand unadvisedly by any, but 
reverently, discreetly, advisedly, and in the fear of 

But how many there are that prostitute this ordinance 
to the basest purposes, while others enter upon the holy 
estate without any reference to the will of God, or any 
thought as to the importance of the matter, or the respon- 
sibilities which it imposes ! But I did not begin this chap- 
ter with the intention of giving you a homily on marriage 
as a Divine institution, but, rather, with the design of 
giving you a peep at my list of marriages, together with a 
little insight into their history and the enormous fees re- 
ceived by the officiating clergyman. 


Well, the first we come to is a sick man, who is evi- 
dently near his end. He has made his peace with God, 
and now carries with him an evidence of his acceptance 
and a title to heaven. But still there^ is something that 
troubles him, which he hesitates to reveal. At length, 
addressing his spiritual adviser, he says, 

" Mr. Sewell, there is a matter that lies heavy on my 
mind, which I have been wanting to talk to you about." 

" Well, speak out, if there is anything I can do for 
you, you have only to name it." 

" Well, sir, I have been living with Abby for several 
years, and we were never married. We were too poor to 
pay for it ; but I feel that we did wrong, and I don't 
wish to die without making everything right, if it is pos- 
sible yet to do so." 

" Oh, well, if that's all, we can soon arrange that," 
and so saying, I took out my Discipline, had the dying 
man seated in a large chair with his lady by his side, and 
then married them in as solemn and impressive a manner 
as possible. The poor fellow was now satisfied, and 
shortly after departed in peace, leaving me his dying 
blessing as my marriage fee. 

I have married several others since then under similar 
circumstances, receiving as my fee only the thanks of 
the parties concerned, but feeling abundantly rewarded 
for my trouble in the satisfaction imparted to those who 


were anxious to obey the divine law, and rectify as far 
as possible the evils of a misspent life. 

"Mr. Sewell, I want you to marry me and Hester," 
said an old man to me one day. 

" Why, Green, I thought you were married long ago, 
but better late than never. When shall I perform the 

" On Thursday night if you please." 

Thursday night came, and I went, book in hand, to 
perform the important ceremony. But lo ! another 
couple were also waiting to be made happy. Ah, 
thought I, this is quite a job, the largest by one half of 
anything I have before undertaken in this line. But 
putting on all the importance I could to hide my per- 
plexity (I had not long been ordained Deacon) I bade 
tliem all stand up and arrange themselves properly. 

After publishing the "Bans," I united the parties in 
holy matrimony, and all were happy. But think of my 
feelings, ye ministers that sometimes receive 25 or 50 
dollars for a single job of this kind, — think what I must 
have felt when poor Jim, one of the grooms, called me 
aside, not to give me a fee, but to ask for a quarter to 
get a little of something for supper. I gave him the 
quarter, ana after wishing the parties much joy, left to 
attend to other duties. 

Another party came to my house one night after my 


family had all retired, and requested me to marry them. 
They were a nice looking couple, and I thought, surely, 
I will get something this time. And so I married them 
in my very best style, and then filled up a beautiful cer- 
tificate for the bride. The groom remarked, as he took 
his hat to leave, that he would see me again. Re did 
see me again, but it was only to question my right to 
marry. This I thought was cool, but not refreshing — 
not in the least. 

One day an old man eighty-four years of age, who 
had been a widower full six months, presented himself 
for the fourth time at Hymen's altar, bringing with him 
a new bride only sixty years old. Here, of course, some 
ceremony had to be observed, and so after the youthful 
pair had been united, I had to go through the formali- 
ties of cutting the cake. This was what is known to the 
confectioners as a sponge cake, and probably cost full 
six cents. A part of it was eaten on the spot, and the 
rest was sent to friends with Mr. and Mrs. com- 

On another occasion a party of five persons entered 
my office, and informed me that two of them wished to 
be married. On scrutinizing the bride ^ittle more 
closely, I found that she was barefoot and withal quite 
drunk ; and I immediately began to excuse myself by 
saying, that I did not know the parties, and could not 


therefore marry them. On hearing this, an old man, and 
one of the company, stepped forward and said, " Sure, 
and I know them, and isn't that enough?" 

"No, not for me," said I. 

" Now be afther tacking them together, for they will 
come together any how." 

"I cannot do it. I don't know them. Why, she 
may have another husband, or he, another wife, for 
aught I know." 

" Sure, and I'll go their security for that." 

"But I don't know them nor you either." 

" Don't know me ? Sure and didn't I vote in Dock 
ward last election, and haint I a citizen ?" 

" You may have voted in Dock ward, and be a citizen 
too, for aught I know ; but that don't help me any." 

And so the interesting couple had to go away unmar- 
ried, notwithstanding the vouchers of their friend, the 
Dock ward voter. 

One evening a sleek looking black woman came to 
my office, and requested me to go immediately and marry 
a couple who were all ready and waiting. 

" A\Tio are the parties ?" said I. 

" Oh, youJtnoAV Margaret S." 

" A white girl ?" 

"The same." (She was a handsome, well-dressed, 
lady-looking girl, but not remarkable for her virtue.) 

238 sorrow's circuit. 

" yes, I know her, and am glad to hear that she is 
going to be married. She has been a bad girl, but I 
hope she will do better now. But who is the man ?" 

" My brother." 

" What ! your brother — a black man ! and I marry 
them ! No, I will do no such thing." 

The would-be brides-maid vamosed as quickly as pos- 
sible, satisfied, I suppose, that the Bedford Street Mis- 
sionary was no amalgamationist, whatever else he might 

But enough in regard to my marriage list. SujQSce it 
to say, in conclusion, that we publish from the pulpit 
that we are willing to marry all that have been living in 
sin, but are now anxious to do right, without money and 
without price, and to give them a marriage certificate 
into the bargain ; nor do we think it a small business 
when we are obliged to throw in their suppers beside. 
Query. Is not a missionary needed here ? Does not 
the cause of morality and religion demand one ? 




I MENTIONED in another chapter that in our first Pro- 
tracted meeting there were three Roman Catholic ladies 
converted, with two of whom a sad history was con- 
nected. That history in the case of one of these I have 
already given you in the backsliding and sudden death 

of Mary G , mentioned in a former chapter. We 

now desire to give you the sad. story of the other unfor- 
tunate woman. 

Margaret V was one of our most faithful and 

zealous converts. The Catholics could make nothing off 
her, either by their jeers or their jests. She knew too 
much for them, for she had learned the secrets of the 
confessional when a child, and she was not slow to speak 
of what she knew. 

This young lady became the favourite, both of our 

240 sorrow's circuit. 

other converts and of the lady managers, because of her 
intelligence, piety, and industry. 

Her piety was undoubted, her attention to her reli- 
gious duties was constant, her devotions fervent, her 
singing sweet and soul-stirring — in short, her presence in 
the class and prayer-meeting seemed to be indispensable. 

About the time of her greatest usefulness and zeal, a 
very plain, smooth-looking gentleman made his appear- 
ance in our Mission as a helper. This was no uncommon 
thing ; for brethren from other churches frequently came 
in, and rendered us good service in carrying on our re- 
vival meetings. 

Our new helper was quite gifted in prayer, and could 
lead class so as to charm every body ; and, as he repre- 
sented himself as a member of church, we gave 

him a hearty welcome, and set him to work whenever he 
came, none of the representatives of the other churches 
offering the least objection. 

And now fairly ingratiated in the good opinions of all, 
he set himself to work to gain the affections of Margaret 
in particular, taking care that I should know nothing of 
the matter. After pressing his suit with considerable 
zeal but with great caution for a few weeks, he proposed 
marriage to Margaret. To this proposal she would 
make no response till she could consult me ; for since her 
conversion, she had been so fearful of doing wrong, that 


she had taken no steps in any matter of importance •,% . 
without first, consulting either with me or my wife. In 
the meanwhile the smooth-tongued man pressed his suit 
more earnestly than ever, assuring Margaret that he had 
property in the country which he would sell, and then 
he would marry and go West. Margaret promised an 
answer in a day or two ; but while she was taking advice 
as to what she should do, it came out that this base de- 
ceiver, this wolf in sheep's clothing, had no property in 
the country or anywhere else, but that he had a wife and 
six children, with whom he was then living, only a few 
squares from the Mission-house. 

As might be expected, this was a terrible blow to poor 
Margaret, for she had placed the utmost confidence in 
his word, and had really learned to love him. 

From the very moment of her sad discovery of his per- 
fidy and his indescribable meanness, she became unsettled 
in her mind, talked strangely, and seemed to have lost 
all confidence in professors of religion. 

We all felt alarmed for her, and did all we could to 
dissipate the terrible cloud that we saw was fast settling 
down upon her intellect and her heart. But she received 
our attentions with coldness, seeming to have lost confi- 
dence in every body ; and though we took her to the 
throne of grace repeatedly, and still called on her to lead 

in prayer herself in the prayer-meetings, yet that cloud 

242 , sorrow's circuit. 

still remained, she was still sad and misanthropic 
Deeply moved by her sad condition, and painfully anx 
ions with reference to her future, I often saw her, and 
whispered in her ear the consoling promises of inspira- 
tion and of Jesus, assuring her that they were true, 
though the woi'd of man might be false, and that she 
would realize their truth in her own blessed experience 
if she would only believe. But all was of no avail. 
The cloud was too thick to be penetrated by a single ray 
of hope, and all within remained dark and cheerless. 

One Thursday afternoon she went out, telling her mo- 
ther that she had an errand to do, and that she would 
be back in half an hour. But the half hour passed, and 
then another, and another, till the day was gone, and 
then the night and the following day came and went, 
but still no tidings came of the fate of poor Margaret. 
At length on Saturday morning, the Public Ledger an- 
nounced that a young woman answering to her descrip- 
tion had been found in the Delaware. I hastened to 
the Green-house, and there, sure enough, lay the body 
of my young friend covered with mud, and ghastly in 
death. Her reason had been dethroned by her terrible 
disappointment, and in her bewilderment she had com- 
mitted suicide. 

My heart sickened within me, as I looked upon her 
body, and thought of the causes that had led to this re- 


suit, and thought also of the crushing weight of sor- 
row that would fall upon her afflicted mother when the 
sad intelligence of her daughter's tragic end should be 
communicated to her. I feared to make the disclosure ; 
and yet the painful task had to be performed. Poor 
woman ! her cup had been well-nigh full before ; but 
now sorrow worse than all caused it to run over. She 
had other children living, but this one seemed to be her 
stay and her comfort. But she was a sensible woman, 
and calmly submitted to the will of God. 

And now the Papists seemed to be in ecstasies. This, 
they said, was a clear case of God's curse upon those 
who dared to leave the "Holy Catholic Church," and 
unite with the heretics. And though the church was 
not responsible for the sad end of either Mary G. or 
poor Margaret, yet it must be acknowledged that the 
tragic death of the latter did operate as a serious draw- 
back to our efforts in the Mission, and for some time we 
had but few conversions. 

And oh ! my dear reader, you know not how my poor 
heart bled and suffered in consequence of this dreadful 
calamity that came thus unexpectedly upon us. Can it 
be possible, thought I, that the devil will yet force us to 
give up this noble enterprise ? Shall we be driven from 
the battle field just as we are planting the standard of 


the cross upon the enemy's outer walls ? Shall we be 
assassinated in our own ranks by a smooth-tongued de- 
ceiver, who "has clothed himself in the livery of the 
court of heaven to serve the devil the more successfully?" 
Shall we be sold to the enemy by a foul-hearted hypo- 
crite, and all our hopes of success and ultimate triumph 
be blasted? Heaven forbid it. It cannot, it shall not 
he so. Satan shall not thus triumph over us, for we are 
fighting the Lord's battles, and " He that is for us is 
more than all that can be against us." 

But mortified with our momentary defeat, we have 
grown more earnest and more cautious than ever, so 
that I doubt not, the devil has been sorry before this 
for his trickery, or if he has not, I hope the poor man 
who consented to be his dupe has. 

One thing is certain, we have learned bv this circum- 
stance to be a little careful whom we receive as helpers, 
and to set no man to fight in our ranks till we know all 
about him. 

But what kind of a heart must a man have who could 
set himself to work for months, under the cover of reli- 
gion, to ruin the peace and happiness of a poor family for 
time and eternity ; and with the ruin of that family asso- 
ciate also the ruin of a noble little Mission-church ? And 
what punishment, think you, is not such a man worthy 


of receiving ? Poor fellow I I enry him not his feelings 
here, and I covet not his doom hereafter, if he repent 
not. May God have mercy npon him, and as far as 
possible counteract the evil which he has done to the 
fatherlea and the widow, as well as to His own cause. 

246 sorrow's circuit. 



This is the name given to a certain article " bottled" 
after the manner of the great philosopher, Franklin, and 
I presume equally dangerous with his to all that presume 
to meddle with it. 

Franklin's lightning was brought down from the clouds 
by " kiting ;" but when my parishioners get at this " Jer- 
sey Lightning" it sends them a kiting; and it is quite 
amusing to see the antics they cut while they are under 
its influence. They remind one of a kite that is short 
of " bobs," that won't keep up, but goes pitching and 
tossing against tree, and wall, and pavement, till at last 
it comes down flat into the gutter. 

But I began this chapter with the intention of show- 
ing how quickly this article called Jersey Lightning, now 
so extensively manufactured and sold, and so generally 
used, destroys its victims. 

John S , an honest, industrious, hard-working 


charcoal huxter, came into our neighborhood from New 
Jersey, about three years ago. He was a man respecta- 
bly connected, possessed of considerable intelligence, 
and well calculated to be useful, if his energies could 
have been properly directed. But unfortunately, as he 
mingled with his associates in the same business, and 
passed round among his customers, he learned to drink, 
and soon became immoderately fond of the intoxicating 
cup. In the meanwhile, he fell into the wiles of an in- 
famous woman, one of the worst I have ever known — 
who dragged him down with her into the lowest depths 
of degradation and misery. 

Poor John ! we tried hard to save him ; but it was all 
of no use. A stronger than we, a woman, not a wife, 
had him under her influence. His downward course was 
steep and rapid. His home was, very soon, a dirty room 
in a filthy alley, without stove or fireplace, bed or bed- 
ding, (save a few pieces of old carpet picked up in the 
street,) table, chair, or cooking utensils, save a tin pan 
and an old broken crock. 

Erom this wretched hovel John wandered forth one 
day in quest of more rum, and was shortly after found 
by the Police lying in the street in an insensible condi- 
tion. He was taken to the station house where he died, 
and the coroner's jury rendered a verdict of "death 
from exposure." Right — but it was exposure to the 


deadly influences of whiskey drinkers and whiskey sel- 
lers. He was killed by the "Jersey Lightning." 

But, as I have attributed this poor fellow's speedy ruin 
in part to the influence of a bad woman, perhaps I can- 
not do better than to append to this chapter a poetical 
efinsion on the 


Written by a lady of a difierent order, and one too, 
who, judging from the spirit in which she writes, had felt 
the sad efiiects of the accursed traflic. 

« Tell me I hate the bowl ! 
Hate is a feeble word, 
I LOATHE — ABHOR — my Very soul 
With strong disgust is stirred, 
Whene'er I see, or hear, or tell, 
Of the dark beverage of hell ! 

What ! trade in poisons for sordid gold ! 

Coil serpents round thy neighbor's heart ; 
Or touch the adder's sinuous fold, 

That he might hurl his venom'd dart ; 
And still declare no crime in this, 
Thus to destroy man's hope of bliss ! 

Justice, stern Justice, would she sleep. 

While I the fiery billows roll, 
See fathers die, and widows weep, 

And let me sell the burning bowl ? 
Could conscience powerless expire, 
While I dealt out the liquid fire ? 


Could I resist the wife's appeal, 
"Who prayed me sell her husbaud none : 

Or could I turn a heart of steel, 
On her who mourns a tippling son ? 

Then could I burst a tomb for gain, 

And rob from the corpse a golden chain ! 

Oould I make paupers by the score, 

And branded culprits fill the jail, 
Make helpless orphans crowd our shore, 

And frantic mothers weep and wail, 
And yet unmoved sell on the dram, ^ 

For gold, immortal spirits damn ? , 

Xo ! for all the wealth of Croesus told, 

For all the fame that earth can sum, 
For mighty kingdoms bought and sold, 

I would not live by selling rum ! 
'Tis tolling on a deathless knefl ! 
'Tis adding flames to fires of hell !" 

250 sorrow's circuit. 


death's doings. 

DijATH is a solemn thing, even though the dark val- 
ley an3» the deep shadow be lighted up by the presence 
of Him "who is the resurrection and the life." To see 
the form, so lately buoyant with health, prostrate ; the 
eye that recently sparkled with hope, glassy ; the lips 
from which fell expressions of the tenderest sympathy, 
cold and dumb ; these are some of its surroundings from 
which nature shrinks, and which invest death with a 
solemn grandeur and majesty appertaining to no other 
subject. But though the sensitive spirit may shrink 
from the physical aspects of death, yet, if the dying one 
be a Christian — one whose life has long been "hid with 
Christ in God" — death is indeed but the message Jesus 
sends to call his loved one home, and the act of dying is 
only falling asleep on the bosom of God. 

See the child of God, who has long been tossed on the 
ocean of life, has encountered many a storm, and, when 

death's doings.. 251 

the billows and trials of temptation have gone over him, 
has feared that he might make shipwreck of faith, and fail 
at last of that harbor of eternal rest promised to the 
faithful, — as he lies down on that bed from which he 
shall rise no more. 

As memory retrospects the past, and faith reveals the 
dawnings of the future ; as he feels that very soon he 
shall be permitted to see that Saviour " whom not hav- 
ing seen he loves;" as before him pass the pictures of 
the New Jerusalem with its jasper walls, its emerald 
gates, and its gold-paved streets ; and as he realizes 
that very soon the ambrosial bowers, the crystal stream, 
the glorious mansion, the victor's palm, and the unfad- 
ing crown shall no longer be objects of faith and hope, 
but of sight and rich fruition, he exultingly exclaims, 
'' death, where is thy sting ! grave, where is thy 
victory !" 

But how different the scene when the miserable vic- 
tims of sin- are met by the king of terrors ! To a few 
pictures of this kind I now invite your contemplation, 
hoping thereby to stir up the Christian to greater ac- 
tivity, and to induce the sinner, whose eyes may chance 
to fall on these pages, to strive to escape the fearful end 
of such as obey not God. 

One hot day in the month of August, 1854, a ragged 
female lay dead on the pavement, in Baker street. She 

252 sorrow's circuit. 

had once been a respectable wife and mother, but had 
abandoned husband and children for a life of licentious- 
ness. That life was short and indescribably wretched. 
How indeed could it be otherwise ? She died too as she 
had lived. 

At four o'clock in the morning she had begged a 
drink of water from a passer by, and when that same 
person passed again, in the course of half an hour, she 
was a corpse. At an early hour the Coroner was in- 
formed of her death, and requested to come as soon as 
possible and hold an inquest on her body. But the day 
stole away and night came on again before the Coroner 
made his appearance, the body, the mean while, being 
exposed to the scorching rays of the sun in the morning, 
and to the pelting of the rain in the afternoon, and 
only preserved from the ravenous hogs by a friendly 

After lying thus ingloriously in the open street for 
eighteen hours, she was at last removed by the city oflfi- 
cials, and conveyed to a pauper's grave in potter's field. 
And thus ended the last scene in the history of a wo- 
man who started in the world with as fair a prospect of 
happiness as is possessed in early life by a majority of 
her sex. 

The next Sabbath, as we were preaching in that same 
neighborhood, we saw, lying on the damp pavement, the 

death's doings. 253 

dead body of a man who liad fallen a prey to intemper- 
ance. He looked as though he had been fighting with 
devils in his last hour, and had been left by them torn 
and mangled on the field —a sad evidence of their ma- 
lignity and power, and of the truth of Holy Writ, that 
" the way of the transgressor is hard." And thus 
ended the life of a man who in youth had been the pride 
of his parents, and in manhood, had been honored and 
respected because of his intelligence and many virtues ; 
and on whose knee lovely children had been dandled, 
while they whispered that soul-thrilling word, father 

But do not turn away, kind reader, and say my pic- 
tures are overdrawn. I have a book full of just such 
sad pictures as I have presented above. Allow me to 
present a few more instances as a specimen of the many 
recorded in my journal. 

April 17, 1856.— Found in Baker street near Spaf- 
ford, Mary L., a woman about thirty years of age, lying 
on the side walk. But this is not remarkable ; for I have 
seen fifteen or twenty lying at one time in this place, 
men, women, and children, huddled together more like 
80 many swine than human beings, and all so much in- 
toxicated that they could neither walk nor stand ; and 
the police, — precious guardians of the public peace ! — 
leaning against a lamp-post near by looking on with in- 


As the woman alluded to was sick from intemperance 
and exposure, almost naked, and apparently in a dying 
condition, we hired from a woman the privilege of let- 
ting her stay in her room till the next day, when we in- 
tended sending her to the Alms-house. 

Friday, April 18th. — On calling this morning to in- 
quire after the woman referred to yesterday, I found 
that she had gone to the bourne from whence no travel- 
ler returns. She crept out early in the morning and 
got more liquor, then dragged herself into a stable-yard, 
and there died before eight o'clock. And thus ended 
the life of this poor, infatuated creature, who was con- 
nected with one of the most respectable families in the 
northern part of our city. 

At 10 A. M., the same day, found Rebecca C. on 
the same corner. Poor woman ! we had tried hard to 
save her ; she had once been a lady, so far as external 
accomplishments can give one a claim to this title; but 
here she lay on the pavement, with muddy and mangled 
face. A rum-seller had kicked her almost to death. 

"Well, Beckie," said I, "what shall we do for you? 
You don't want to die on the street, do you?" 

" Indeed, Mr. Sewell, I wish I was with Mary L., 
who died over there in the yard this morning." 

" But, Beckie, think of the result of such a death — 
an awful hell would be your portion forever." 

death's doings. 255 

"Mr. Sewell, I think God would have mercy upon 
such a poor creature as I am ; I do not sin with pre- 
sumption, but from infirmity." 

" I admit your drunkenness is a disease, but still you 
are accountable, for you have brought on the disease by 
your presumption." 

Tims we argued until I obtained her consent to go to 
the Alms-house until she should get well of her bruises. 
On the way thither she promised my wife, who accom- 
panied her, that she would do better in future, and then 
added, "Poor Beckie ! there is hope for her yet." 

But Beckie did not live to realize her hopes in the en- 
joyment of a life of sobriety and virtue. She died of 
her bruises the following week ; and the brutal fellow 
who beat her so unmercifully, was rewarded for his bru- 
tality by being put on the police force to assist in guard- 
ing the lyublic peace. A feiv such policemen, one would 
suppose, would be quite sufiScient even for this large 

Sunday, 9| A. M. — Found another poor wretch lying 
near the same spot that was occupied by the above, 
Baker and Spafford streets. She semed to be in a dying 
condition ; but the people refused to take her into their 
houses, — or more properly, their hovels, — and the police 
said it was not their business to take her away, and so 
■we took her into a cellar, where Captain E. lived. Now 


don't laugh at me for giving a title to a denizen of Ba- 
ker street, for this gentleman was really a titled man, 
and had once been a respected and honored paember of 
the community. The fact is, neither wealth, rank, nor 
dignified titles can keep men away from this vortex of 
ruin. At this present time, there are among the drunken, 
ragged wretches that burrow here, not less than four 
fallen ministers of the Gospel, who were once regularly 
authorized preachers in two of the leading Christian de- 
nominations of this country. 

But to return to the history of the woman deposited 
in Captain E.'s cellar. No sooner had my back been 
turned upon the wretched place and its inmates, than 
Captain E.'s wife, at the earnest solicitation of the sick 
woman, sent out and procured for her a half a pint of 
whiskey, which she drank down at a single gulp. And 
now, gaining a little strength from this potation, she ran 
wildly out into the street, begged an additional tumbler 
full of the fiery fluid, which with horrid grimaces she 
swallowed down her burning throat, and then returned 
to the cellar where she died in less than twenty minutes. 

That same night, and from the same cause, the above 
named Captain E. also died ; so that two corpses had to 
be removed from that cellar the following day. Nor was 
this all ; for my journal records that on Monday, April 
21st, Ann G. was found dead in a cellar on the opposite 


side of the street, tlius making four deaths in four days 
within a few feet of each other ; and all the result of in- 
temperance and exposure. 

10 o'clock A.M. This is a cold, stormy day, a search- 
ing north-east rain is falling fast ; a wet, dreary day, 
just such a day as a Missionary is needed out of 

And here we are in Baker street again, this soul-deso- 
lating spot, this common sewer for all the grog-shops 
great and small in the city and county of Philadelphia. 

And yonder is Jimmy Mc, who sells death at one cent 
a glass to men, women, and children ; — 7/es, to children^ as 
I have good reason to know ; for only the other day I 
had to go to Moyamensing prison and secure the release 
of two of our school boys, aged respectively 12 and 13 
years, who had been sent there because of drunkenness 
and disorderly conduct occasioned by immoderate 
draughts of Jimmy's penny-a-glass whiskey. And for 
this offence I took out a warrant for his arrest, but I 
could not get it served either by Constable or Policeman; 
for Jimmy was too important a personage in this commu- 
nity to be arrested. 

But what a curious turn my journal is taking! Here 
I am soliloquizing before Jimmy's door. Well, I can't 
help it; the objects I came to seek, as might well be ex- 

258 sorrow's c/ircuit. 

pected, are lying all around the entrance to his body- 
wasting and soul-destroying establishment. 

But here come a woman and her daughter dripping 
with the rain. They have no shelter, and none will they 
get, unless they can succeed in begging a few pennies to 
pay for the privilege of lodging in some wretched hovel. 
The daughter approaching, says, "Mr. SeAvell, won't you 
give me a few pennies to get off the street ? We'll die 
if we have to lie out all night." 

"You have lain out all night many a time, and, I 
fear, if I give you money you will only buy whiskey 
with it." 

" No, indeed, 'pon my soul I won't." 

" Well, Susan, here goes for another trial — ^here is ten 
cents to pay for your lodging. 

And with this they did obtain shelter from the pelthig 
storm, though not without a sharp contention between 
the daughter and her mother, whose thirst for whiskey 
was so great that, had her daughter permitted it, she 
would have expended the money immediately for the in- 
toxicating draught, and taken her chance upon the street 
once more, — perhaps to perish in the storm. 

And just think of it, this poor wretched mother was 
once a respectable member of an evangelical church in 
the upper part of the city ; and even now, she has a son 
who is a successfal merchant, and who has used every 






death's doings. 259 

means in his power to induce her and her ruined daugh- 
ter to leave this wretched locality, and go with him to a 
place of respectability and comfort. But, strange to say, 
such is their infatuation that they prefer a liome in the 
street with wlii%key to one in a 'palace without it. 

But who is this approaching ? Ah ! it is Emma B. 
How pitiful she looks ! 

"And I feel horrid indeed : I have been out all night 
on the street for want of a few pennies, and I am cold 
and hungry." 

" I see you are very wet. But Emma, this is all your 
own fault, you have brought it on yourself." 

" I know it, I know it; but don't scold me now; I am 
almost dead. Oh, if I could only get a commitment to 
Prison, or a permit to the Almshouse ! But they won't 
give me either, and so I must perish in the street, I sup- 

"Well, Emma, we will see if we can do anything for 
you," and so saying, we went and procured for her a 
lodging-place, where she might spend the night and dry 
her clothes. 

P. S. This poor woman drank on until she died, and 
then her miserable associates stripped the clothes from 
her body and sold them for whiskey; and while they 
were drinking this whiskey, I saw them holdmg wake 
over her miserable remains which were then covered with 


a piece of old carpet. Does the reader startle at this 
terrible detail of intemperance, sensuality, and crime ? 
So did I when I saw, not the picture but the reality ; it 
was a sight horrible to look upon. But I have seen 
many such sights since then. 

But to return to my Diary. 

Here comes another victim of rum. What a sight ! 
It is the wife of the before-mentioned Captain E., who 
has been turned out into the street by her relentless 
landlord, because she has not got ten cents to pay in ad- 
vance for a night's rent. 

" 0, sir, can't you give me a few pennies that I may 
go somewhere and dry my clothes ? My husband died 
last night, and I have been wandering about all day in 
the rain." 

" Come along with me, and we'll see what can be done 
for you." 

Here is a cellar, but there are seven in it already, 
shivering around a small fire ; and they all say they are 
hungry. But that is soon fixed. Right over head is a 
grub-sJiop, where the street beggars carry their cold vic- 
tuals, and trade it off for whiskey. Here we procure 
sufficient for twenty-five cents to feed the whole com- 
pany, and then turn our face homeward, leaving them to 
enjoy their sumptuous repast, while we indulge the sad 

death's doings. 261 

reflections which their condition and circumstances have 
excited, and offer up a silent prayer to God, that the 
time may soon come when such scenes of poverty, 
•wretchedness, and death will no more be witnessed in 
our streets. 





What an event is the conversion of a single soul ! 
But what is conversion ? 

Some call it moral improvement, some a change of 
opinion, some an external transition from bad to good 
society, and from false notions to correct belief in evan- 
gelical, orth,odox Christianity, while Latin theology 
makes it identical with Penance and Reformation. 

But in our opinion, it is more than all these com- 

The Bible represents it as a new birth, — a new crea- 
tion, — in which old things pass away and all things be- 
come new. Not a mere relative change, but a divine 
reorganization of the whole spiritual man. As the pot- 
ter crushes the broken vessel, and after passing the clay 
of which it was composed through a certain process, re- 
produces that vessel in a new and better form, so God, 
the great Creator of all existences, takes in hand the 



broken and contrite heart of the penitent, and after fur- 
ther humiliation and instruction, in which man's unwor- 
thiness and God's holiness are placed in fearful contrast, 
the love of God in the gift of his Son is portrayed to 
the mind in all its rich and vivid colors, the condescen- 
sion of the blessed Saviour as he suffers and dies on the 
cross for sinners, and prays even for his murderers, 
"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do," 
is brought out, and the soul distrusting itself, and de- 
spairing of all hope of salvation from any other quarter, 
casts itself unreservedly upon the atoning sacrifice, and 
takes Christ as his only, his present, his all-sufficient 
Saviour; then pardon flows into the heart, the Holy 
Spirit takes up his abode in the purified soul, and the 
man feels that he is indeed created anew in Christ 
Jesus. He now possesses a new principle of spiritual 
life, has new hopes, new desires, new feelings, and new 
affections. He now begins to live a new life— a life by 
faith in the Son of God. And indeed so thorough and 
60 striking is the change produced in conversion, that 
the entire man seems to be new,— the body as well as 
the soul participating in the change. Hence our beloved 
Brother Yard, in speaking of a young man who had 
been converted, was led to say, " Before his conversion 
he was an ugly, disagreeable looking man, but now he is 

264 sorrow's circuit. 

so thoroughly changed, that he has become really quite 

Glory be to God for the renewing and transforming 
power of our holy religion. The Christian is indeed a 
new creature. 

But I began this chapter with the intention, not so 
much of writing on conversion in the abstract, as giving 
an instance of its transforming power. 

Our first Protracted-meeting in the Bedford Street 
Mission was commenced on the first day of September, 
1854, and, as I have elsewhere informed the reader, was 
continued till the following March. From the very be- 
ginning of the meeting our old shanty was filled with 
people, so-me of whom were sober and attentive, whilst 
others were quite intoxicated and stupid, often so much 
so, that they fell asleep on their knees during the first 
prayer, and remained there sleeping ofi" their potations 
until the close of the meeting. 

The reader may indeed wonder whether any good was 
done in such a congregation as this ; but I am glad to 
be able to inform him that our altar was crowded with 
penitents night after night, and many were then con- 
verted who till the present have remained faithful and 
devoted Christians, giving unmistakable evidence in their 
lives of a thorough change of heart. 

I shall never forget the scenes that I witnessed in our 


Mission on the night of the State election in October 
1854. As I entered the house, I remarked to Brother 
John Orr, a local preacher who had come to assist me, 
as he had often done before, that I had made a mistake 
in not suspending our meeting for that evening, as I 
supposed the noise and confusion in Bedford street 
would be so great as to render it impossible to do much 
in the way of getting souls converted. We went for- 
ward, however, in the fear of God and commenced our 
meeting, intending only to sing a hymn and have prayer 
together and then dismiss for the night. But as the 
house was full, and a feeling of solemnity seemed to 
rest upon the people, I was led to open my mouth in 
exhortation, and the Lord filled it with arguments, and 
so enforced the truth spoken by the energies of his 
Holy Spirit, that on extending the invitation to peni- 
tents, no less than eleven came forward and bowed hum- 
bly at the mourner's bench. And then what a scene 
followed ! On the outside the street was lighted up 
with bonfires, around which were congregated a motley 
group of men, women, and children, who with their hor- 
rid oaths, and their loud and idiotic laugh made night 
hideous, and caused one to feel that he had in the scene 
before him a faithful picture of pandemonium itself; 
while within appeared in the dim light a group of spec- 
tral forms of all colors, conditions, and sizes ; and around 

266 sorrow's circuit. 

the altar were bowed side by side the poor washer- 
woman, the dirty rag-picker, the miserable beggar, and 
the drunken loafer, all crying to God for mercy, and 
earnestly inquiring what they must do to be saved. 

Casting aside all fear, and losing sight of all consi- 
derations, save that these poor beings were the pur- 
chase of the blood of Christ, and that God was able and 
willing now to save them, we did all we could to lead 
them to the cross, and to help them to step into the pool 
of salvation, — the fountain of redeeming love — by whose 
waters they might be cleansed from all their sins, and 
healed of all their maladies. 

At 10 o'clock, after giving some suitable advice to 
the mourners, we were about to close our meeting, when 
a poor rag-picker sprang to her feet and praised God 
aloud for what he had done for her soul, assuring us 
that he had taken away her sins, and had given her 
peace and joy in believing. We urged her to hold on 
to her Saviour, to examine carefully the ground of her 
faith and hope, and not to be satisfied until she had a clear 
and unmistakable evidence that she was a child of God. 

On the morrow she went to her usual employment of 
gathering rags and bones along the streets, but returned 
in the afternoon to her humble home, complaining that 
she was sick, and on lying down on a piece of old carpet 
— she had no bed — she said she felt as if she was going 


to die. Her husband, becoming alarmed at this, asked 
her if she was not afraid to die, or if she felt that she 
was ready to meet her God. 

She immediately and emphatically replied, "No, I'm 
not afraid to die. I was at the Bedford Street Prayer- 
meeting, last night, and there God converted my soul: 
I am not afraid to die." 

And I saw her cold and lifeless in the icy embrace of 
death that same evening. In less than twenty-four 
hours after her conversion she was called to exchange 
her rags for a robe of glory, and her wretched hovel in 
Bedford street for a mansion in the Paradise of God. 
Oh, what a wondrous change ! What a glorious transi- 
tion from the home and employment of a rag-picker to 
the palace of angels and God, and to the delightful as- 
sociations and employments of the redeemed in heaven ! 
And what an indescribably valuable religion is that 
which produces these wonderful transformations, and 
brings about these stupendous results ! 

' Salvation ! salvation ! 

The joyful sound proclaim. 
Till earth's remotest nation 

Has learn'd Messiah's name : 
Till o'er our ransom'd nature 

The Lamb for sinners slain, 
Redeemer, King, Creator, 

In bliss returns to reign." 

268 sorrow's circuit. 



" Oh, you know nothing of the tortures we poor crea- 
tures have to endure," said one of the members of our 
adult Bible-class — made up of our converts — as she con- 
versed with her teacher on the subject of temptation. 
" You don't get abused and knocked about as we do ; 
your temptations are not like ours. What would you 
think if, after working hard for three days, and living on 
trust for that time with the expectation of receiving a 
proper compensation for your labor, you were to receive 
only 31 cents for the whole ? Miss, you don't know 
what we have to put up with." 

" "Well, Fannie, I know you have a hard lot of it; but 
pray on, it won't last always. This is your trial, and if 
you endure to the end you have the promise of a crown 
of life." 

And with the assistance of God's grace this poor wo- 
man, who was among our first fruits in the Mission, has 


been contending successfully against tlie powers of dark- 
ness and the temptations of poverty for nearly five 
years. Such has been her faithfulness that she has in- 
duced her husband, who had been a notorious drunkard 
for many years, to take the pledge, and now for some 
time to keep it; so that hopes are entertained that he will 
yet become a Christian, and join her in striving to se- 
cure a home in heaven, where the bitings of poverty, and 
the temptations of the devil will never be felt. 

Yes, "poverty brings its temptations," thought I as 
a poor woman, who was also among our first fruits, came 
to me one day to know where she might get some work. 
She said that she had been hunting up and down the 
streets for some time to get something to do, but had 
only received a single offer, and that was, to whitewash 
a room, — give it two coats, — for 12^ cents. 

Is it any wonder that these wretched people, when not 
restrained by religion, steal ? Are they not often driven 
to it by the penuriousness of the rich Avho oppress the 
hireling in his wages, and cause the cry of the poor to 
enter the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth ? 

"But," my reader replies, "these poor people had 
better take such wages as they can get than to steal." 

True, my friend, but you forget that the devil, who is 
always on hand, takes advantage of such circumstances 
as we have mentioned above, and often leads the un- 

270 sorrow's circuit. 

happy victim, while yet smarting under his disappoint- 
ments or his repulses, to throw himself away in a fit of 
desperation — abandon home, and wife, and children, and 
virtue, and plunge at one fearful leap into the deepest 

Alas ! poverty without grace is a sad condition. And 
knowing this, we tell the poor around us that of all peo- 
ple in the world they have most need of religion. For, 
if after living hard, working hard, faring hard, they 
then die hard and are lost forever, it will be a terrible 
doom — theirs will be a terrible existence. 

God pity the suffering poor, and help them to resist 
temptation, overcome the world, and secure for them- 
selves a home in heaven where poverty will never come. 

And may God help my readers, too, who may be 
brought into contact with those suffering ones, never to 
cast a stumbling block in their way, or by an act of in- 
justice, unkindness, or oppression tempt them to throw 
off the restraints of virtue, or to turn aside from the path 
of piety and peace. For God himself will avenge the 
cause of the poor, and will hear the cry of the oppressed ; 
and fearful will be the reward that he will measure out 
to those that are guilty. 




"Is not drunkenness a constitutional disease?" is a 
question that I have frequently been asked, by the re- 
flecting. I answer, 

No, sir, no more than the love of tobacco. Will any 
man, that claims that he cannot quit chewing tobacco, 
defend himself with the plea that his love for it is an 
inherent disease arising out of, and nourished by the 
tobacco-impregnated blood of his ancestors which is 
running in his veins ? 

As well might he say that the deep, rich soil of earth 
could produce the seed that was to cover it with verdure 
without the Creator's help, as to say that the appetite 
for liquor, or tobacco, or opium, is inherent. 

No, I repeat it, the love of strong drink is not a con- 
stitutional infirmity, but it is the result of the tares sown 
by an enemy in the rich soil of man's depraved nature, 
cultivated by a persevering hand, and covered with a 

272 sorrow's circuit. 

fertilizing power, that brings out in ranker growth the 
fatal fruit. 

As the seed sown by the husbandman must be warmed 
by the sun, nourished by the showers, and cultivated by 
the hand ; so the love of liquor must not only be formed 
by gradual use, but fostered and encouraged by sur- 
roundincr influences before it becomes a settled disease. 
But unfortunately the usages of society are such, at the 
present time, that a man that will touch it at all, is almost 
sure to be ruined by it. The rich and the poor, the 
high and the low, the intelligent and the ignorant, all 
use it, and use it, too, in all seasons of the year, and for 
every conceivable purpose. 

The man of pleasure uses it because it is fashionable; 
the business man, to keep up his spirits ; the laboring 
man, to recruit his wasted energies ; the traveler, to 
keep him warm in winter, and to keep him cool in sum- 
mer ; the well man, to keep him from getting sick ; and 
the sick man, to make him well. 

In cookery too it is indispensable. Wine for dip, and 
brandy for mince pies, say our housewives, are as neces- 
sary as yeast for bread. And so we go; and what 
wonder is it that we are becoming a nation of diseased 
drunkards ? 

That drunkenness is a disease I am free to admit ; 
and how could it be otherwise, after a person has run 


the gauntlet as shown above ? As -well might a person 
■with bilious habits expect to escape fever in moving from 
high lands to low bogs, as for a young man to attempt 
to pass the ordeal above named, and yet remain sober. 
But do you still ask, 

" How then is the evil perpetuated if it is not in- 
herent ?" 

I'll tell you. Thousands of mechanics learn to drink 
when they learn their trades. The journeymen carry it 
in their pockets to their workshops, and when the bottle 
is empty, the apprentice-boy is sent off to have it filled 
again, for which service, he robs the mail, as it is termed, 
that is, he takes a drink before he gets back ; and in 
this way many a boy, by the time he is twenty-one years 
old, can drink as much and swear as hard as any body 
about the establishment. 

It is perpetuated too in the social circle. It would be 

considered a want of good breeding to refuse a glass of 

wine at a party. It would cause the kind hostess to 

look upon the person that dared to do it, with a frown, 

such as woman only can give when offended, and her 

honorable husband, to curl his lip with a sarcastic laugh, 

and join with his jovial guests in pitying the man whose 

head was too weak to drink, or whose conscience was 

too squeamish to allow him to be sociable. 

A case in point. I knew a young man, whose picus 

27i sorrow's circuit. 

mother had taken every precaution to prepare her son 
to meet and successfully resist all the temptations that 
might be thrown in his way by the perverted, and oft- 
times destructive customs of society. 

William was her idol and her hope. She thought she 
saw a home in his home, where she might rest her head 
in her declining years. This young man was my boon 
companion when we were both young ; but having formed 
a liking for strong drink, and being of a sanguine tem- 
perament, though cautious and honorable, he soon began 
to make too free a use of the bottle for my liking. 
Though I had no kind of objections to a young man's 
drinking moderately, and even went so far as to set 
down the new doctrine of total abstinence (for it was 
then new) as a humbug, believing that none but fanatics 
would advocate so absurd a notion, as that a man was in 
danger of being a drunkard because he drank two or 
three glasses of good brandy a day yet I had no idea 
of associating with any that went to extremes. 

My company all drank a little, " hut nothing to hurt,'* 
we used to say. Well, let us see who of my boon com- 
panions got hurt by drinking moderately while they 
were young. 

As I said above, my friend William traveled too fast 
in this slow but sure line of ours, and not wishing a 


break down, we had to tell him plainly of his fault, and 
plead with him to mend his ways. 

He took the advice, and quit drinking altogether. He 
•would not touch it on any account. I recollect well the 
day when he was laughed at by his associates for being 
a teetotaller. This, in those days, was considered a 
reproach, and hence it galled him exceedingly to be 
charged with it, and led him to abandon his good resolu- 
tions and drink again. And now having entered upon 
the downward course again, his descent was steep and 
rapid, and he soon became a confirmed drunkard. We 
all saw it, and deplored it. His mother saw it too, and 
with a broken heart sunk into an early grave. 

And here I would gladly throw a vail over the re- 
maining history of my young friend, if it were not that 
I wish to warn others to take care that they do not come 
to a like fate. 

Everybody forsook him ; for he had lost all sense of 
respectability, of honor, and of shame, and had become 
so blind that he could not see how low he had fallen. 
Nobody would hire him, though a first rate workman, 
and fast too, in his sober days. Thus matters went with 
the poor drunkard, until one day he went to a mutual 
friend of ours, and asked the loan of five dollars, ofi'er- 
ing his coat as collateral security, while he would go into 
the country to hunt work, and reform. 

276 sorrow's circuit. 

The money was obtained, and away went poor William 
toward Darby, at which place he asked for work at his 
trade, but was answered, ''No; we have no work for 
you." Nothing more was heard of him for ten days, 
when he was found about a quarter of a mile off, hang- 
ing to a sapling by his own suspenders, the hair dropping 
from his head, and the flesh wasting from his bones — a 
horrid spectacle. 

Thus ended the career of as promising a young man 

as Philadelphia ever possessed; and here ended the hopes 

of the poor widow, who had spent her time, and her 

means, and her holy influence to make this darling of her 

heart a man. That laugh fixed the business ; and my 

young friend now fills a drunkard's grave, and it is to be 

feared also a drunkard's hell ; for, as the Poet has justly 


" 'Tis not the whole of life to live, 
Nor all of death to die." 

Another of this very circle of friends, was a young man 
whose father was a retired gentleman. There were three 
sons and one daughter in the family. « 

"When the mother died, the youngest child, the subject 
of this paragraph, was about seven years old ; and her 
last dying words were, "Dear husband, take care of R." 
This he most solemnly promised to do, and I doubt not 
meant to keep his word. But let us see how he did it. 


This father was one of the advocates of the doctrine 
"^ little won't hurt you! ! ! provided it be good;" and 
so he set good brandy on the table every day for dinner. 
The oldest son did not indulge to any extent ; the next, 
for reasons sufficient, also avoided it ; but the youngest 
boy, the one for whom the dying mother felt so much 
anxiety, as he grew to manhood, learned to love brandy ; 
and by the time he was twenty-three years old, he was a 
common drunkard, and would even steal to get whiskey 
to satisfy his burning appetite; and only pity for his now 
feeble parent saved him from a felon's cell. He afterward 
died a horrid death from the effects of a disease formed 
at his father's dinner-table — the disease of drunkenness. 
And thus did that unhappy father perform the vow made 
to his dying Christian wife. ( For the neighbors all said 
she was a Christian ; and neighbors are the best earthly 
judges, outside of our own hearts, in this matter.) He 
did not mean to ruin his boy, who had been the darling 
of his mother when living, and her last care when dying ; 
but he did ruin him, nevertheless, by continuing to plead 
for the moderate use of good brandy. 

Oh, how fearful are the results of the fatal disease of 
drunkenness, formed at the side board, or the dinner- 
table of the moderate drinker ! 

"Who hath wo ? who hath sorrow? who hath conten- 


sorrow's CIRcblT. 

tions ? who hath babblings ? who hath wounds without 
cause ? who hath redness of eyes ? 

" They that tarry long at the wine ; they that go to 
seek mixed wine. Look not tliou upon the wine when it 
is red, when it giveth his color in the cup, when it mov- 
eth itself aright. At the last it hiteth like a serpent, and 
stingeth lilce an adder.'' 





As we were preaching the Gospel, one day, in the old 
shanty that we called our church, ( and it was a church, 
for God was always there,) a wicked woman passed be- 
fore the door, and tried how much she could annoy us by 
cursing us as heretics, and using the most filthy and ob- 
scene language. After exhausting her vocabulary of 
wicked and blasphemous words, she then passed on to 
her lodging place, a few doors above, and going into a 
room that contained several weavers' looms, she lay down 
between two of them, and there died during the night. 

The Coroner's jury said she came to her death by 
"visitation of God," but I presume the true verdict 
would have been, " Death hy visitation of rum." 

Her husband was at that time in Moyamensing prison 
as a vagrant, and did not get out till after his wife had 
been taken to "potter's field." This, in some measure, 
roused the stupid drunkard a little, and gave us an op- 

280 sorrow's circuit. 

portunity to make an appeal to his heart. But he soon 
relaxed again into his former habits. And, though we 
continued our efforts, from time to time, for his reforma- 
tion, yet it was several months before we prevailed on 
him to take the pledge. 

He had served many years in the English army, was 
schooled in all manner of wickedness, and had learned 
to love liquor as he did bread. Indeed, whiskey seemed 
to be a part of his existence ; and a more completely 
abandoned sinner I never saw. And yet he was a man 
that had been endowed, by nature's God, with more than 
ordinary reasoning powers, as he still evinced by his in- 
telligent conversation, notwithstanding his mental ener- 
gies had been weakened by forty years' dehauchery. 

Impelled by an earnest desire to save this old sinner, 
this wreck of one of God's noblemen, from a fearful hell, 
and encouraged in our efforts by his readiness to listen 
to our advice and counsel, we followed him up. 

Well do I remember my first visit to the dirty garret, 
in which he and his wife, — for he was married again, — 
stayed. ( It wouldn't be right to say lived.) Here I sat 
for half an hour amid the fumes of the pipe and bad 
whiskey, and the escaping gas of a rickety stove, exhort- 
ing them to repent, and reform their lives. 

And well do I remember, also, another visit that I 
made to the same garret, some time afterward. 


I found some six or seven drunken men and women 
there, and they were having a high time of it,— a perfect 
jubilee. But I spoiled their fun for that time, on this 
■wise. I had heard that Lobelia pills were good to cure 
drunkenness, and as I had a lot on hand, given to me by- 
Mr. Robert Hance, successor to Aaron Comfort, Thom- 
sonian druggist, I concluded to try the experiment on 
this party, and I accordingly administered the medicine. 
Three pills ordinarily make a fair dose, and produce 
nausea and vomiting ; but I wanted to make sure work, 
and so I gave seven pills to one, and six to each of the 
others. These pills worked wonders, such as I will not 
here attempt to describe. Suffice it to say, most of the 
party were sober and sick enough the next morning, and 
did not go back to the bottle again. We managed to 
keep them sick for several days with the nauseating 

One of the company, however, refused to take my 
pills, and drank on two weeks longer, and then died from 
bruises she got in falling down stairs. The husband of 
this woman was accused of pushing her down stairs, but 
they were all too drunk to know how her bruises came. 

This woman was refined in her manners, and had been 
educated in Scotland, — a poor little hump backed dwarf, 
— frail in the extreme, and yet she could di-ink moro 

282 sorrow's circuit. 

■whiskey than any woman I ever saw before or since in 
this terrible rendezvous of the wicked. 

But we must return to our subject. Our friend, J. W. 
took the pledge, Sept. 5, 1856, and henceforth remained 
a sober man ; and what is better, he soon after experi- 
enced religion, and was admitted to the pardoning favor 
and fellowship of his Saviour. And now every body 
that knows him believes him to be a converted man. In- 
deed without the saving grace of God and the guidance 
of the Holy Spirit, he never could have kept from the 
bottle. Grace alone, he says, sustains him. 

But I will let him tell his own story in his own way 
in the following letter, which, though addressed to my- 
self, is full of thrilling interest to every lover of Jesus 
and humanity : 

" Dear Friend : — Without any preface, I lay this 
brief outline of my sinful life before you ; knowing that 
you take pleasure in doing good, and in encouraging 
others to do so ; otherwise I would not hold up my face 
to address you. 

" When I look at the patience and forbearance of 
God toward so ungrateful a wretch as I have been all 
my life long, I am led to wonder that he has not cut me 
off long ago in my sins, and fixed my doom forever 
where there is no mercy. But in the midst of deserved 


■wrath he has remembered mercy, and given me a chance 
of escaping eternal ruin. 

" My dear sir, when I think over my past life, it is 
enoujrh to make a stouter heart than mine tremble. 

"It is true, my father was not a religious man, yet 
he would make his children read the Bible, and did not 
oppose our going to. Sabbath-school. But alas ! at that 
time he drank whiskey, and was a profane swearer. 
Under this influence I grew up. 

" I can remember the first time I was drunk. I was 
not more than twelve years of age. I thought it a manly 
thing to get drunk. Why, I had as good a right as my 
father ; surely he could say nothing to me, I was only 
following in his footsteps. Such was the effect of his 
evil example. 

"It is the custom in Scotland, where I was raised, 
for young men to sally forth with a bottle of whiskey 
and other accompaniments from one neighbor's house to 
another. This is called first-footing, and in nine cases 
out of every ten the parties get drunk before they return 
again to their own homes. 

" It was in my first excursion of this kind that I fell. 
I was attending a Wesleyan Sabbath-school at the time. 
Shame took hold of me, and I left the Sabbath-school, 
and then commenced my wretched life ; for I did not 
think of flying to Jesus, and throwing myself at his feet, 

2S4 sorrow's circuit. 

and praying to be washed and cleansed in Ms blood. 
No, the evil one had too fast a hold on me. 

" Oh, I pray to God that this may be a warning to 
some youth, before he drives himself into the vortex of 

" While I was yet young, I entered the British ser- 
vice as a soldier. Here I found a company of sinners 
of all kinds, and of almost every grade. 

" While we were quartered in Belfast, Ireland, I got 
into a drunken spree, which gave the oflficers some trou- 
ble, and they sentenced me to three hundred lashes on 
my bare back. The charge was desertion. 

" my God, how merciful hast thou been to the 
vilest of the vile ! 

" It appeared to me that I was cast off forever, and I 
became stupidly indifferent to my fate. No one seemed 
to care for my soul, or body either ; and feeling myself 
abandoned, I rushed from one scene of sin and dissipation 
to another, getting deeper and deeper into the mire ; 
and I have even prayed that God would kill me, and 
send me to my final doom, and so end a part of my 

" While in this forlorn condition, after a lapse of years, 
I became melancholy, and in my gloom I would some- 
times look into the Bible ; but I had no one to lead me 
to the Saviour, no one to point me to the cross of Christ. 


" I left my country and came to America, and here 
plunged deeper and still deeper into crime ; and misery 
and woe were the consequence. Now I gave loose reins 
to my passions and appetite, and gave myself up as lost, 
and wished many a time that I was dead. 

" But the spirit of the Lord directed my steps to you ; 
may God bless you ! I remember well the morning of 
the j5fth of September, Eighteen hundred and fifty-six, 
after a hard spree, of coming to you to take the total 
abstinence pledge, which you administered to me in a 
most solemn manner, and how this act awoke the slum- 
bering powers of my reason, and how this first step led 
me to take another. 

" I had no Bible : — what was I to do ? I had not been 
to church for many years ; and now that I wanted to 
go, I had neither clothes nor shoes. But despair was 
yielding to good resolutions, and I went to your church 
in Bedford street, sinful, self-debased, and ragged as I 
was. I entered the House of God, where you were 
preaching the Word of Life to fallen man, and oh ! what 
strange sensations passed through my soul ! I could 
not rest. I saw myself a hell-deserving sinner. But 
you presented to me the 'Lamb of God that taketh 
away the sin of the world.' 

" Could there be redemption for such a sinner as I 
was ! You pressed me to go to the altar and see ; and 

286 sorrow's circuit. 

I thank my God and you, my dear friend, that I ever 
did go to that altar in the Bedford Street Mission. I 
was led by this means to the foot of the cross, and to 
Christ ; and he pardoned my sins, and gave me to feel 
that I was adopted into his family. 

" Oh, what a thrill of joy passed through my soul ! 
Oh, what peace at home ! a heaven on earth ! Oh, this 
world seemed all made up new, enlightened, as it were, 
with the bright hope of eternal glory which I possessed. 

" Oh, how my poor unworthy heart melts when I think 
of what I was, and what I am now, through the untiring 
exertions of you, sir, and the other members and officers 
of the Young Men's Central Home Mission ! 

" I have been severely tried since my conversion, with 
temptations of the evil one. My old companions too 
have given me trouble. Then I have been tried by 
poverty in its direst form ; and although my weakness 
was apparent to you, yet your nursing and watching 
over me, and prayers for me, make me now feel that I 
stand on solid ground, and I seem to gather strength 
every day. 

" Glory be to God for his unspeakable mercy to un- 
worthy me. Pray for me, that I may hold out to the 
end, and when done with earth, we may meet in heaven, 
where we will praise God for his -love, and enjoy him 
and the companionship of his saints forever. And with 


my prayers for you and your family, I remain yours 
forever and ever, Amen. 

June 16th, 1858. James W." 

This man still (1859) holds on in the even tenor of 
his way ; and feeling it to be his duty to call sinners to 
repentance, he is now doing what he can to prepare his 
mind, so that he may successfully plead for Christ and 
his religion before the public. And indeed he has al- 
ready begun to declare, as occasion offers, that the reli- 
gion of Jesus Christ is " the power of God unto salva- 
tion to every one that belie veth," and that Christ is able 
to save even the chief of sinners, of which he is a living 
and most remarkable example. 





Within three days of each other, two persons died 
near the Mission-house, one on Monday morning, and 
the other on Wednesday evening. Both cases are of 
interest to the pious reader, and also to those who are 
careless in regard to their souls' eternal welfare. 

William S. was an old man, perhaps seventy years of 
age, but not a drunkard. He had several years before 
given up the bottle, and had'since lived a quiet peaceable 
life, though he still remained "without hope, and without 
God in the world." 

This case demanded immediate attention, as he seemed 
to be sinking rapidly toward the grave. We urged 
upon him earnestness as well as honesty in his prayers 
to Almighty God, while we endeavored to lay before him 
the plan of salvation as concisely as words would admit, 
without leaving anything out. 

With an earnest heart the poor man went to Christ 


■with all his sins, and for weeks he besought mercy at 
the hand of God. In the mean while we helped him all 
we could with our prayers, and faith, and exhortations, 
not neglecting to supply his temporal wants, when we 
had the money, which, I am sorry to say, was not always 
the case. 

But there was a serious drawback to all our efforts. 
His wife was a drunkard, and would disturb his devo- 
tions with her drunken orgies. This we could not over- 
come, and so we had to work our way in spite of it as 
best we could. The poor man wanted redemption, and 
we followed him up, day after day, pressing upon him 
the necessity of haste, because his days were few. 

One day while sitting by his side, repeating the prom- 
ises of God to repenting sinners, he looked me full in the 
face, and said: 

" Mr. Sewell, there is something wanting within. I 
don't feel satisfied yet. There seems to be something 
within not right. I have left the world, hut somehow I 
can't reach the other. There seems to be an empty space 
in which I stand." 

"Well, you want to get near enough to Christ to 
touch him, like the woman in the Gospel, who touched 
the hem of his garment, and was made whole immedi- 

"That's it, that's what I want." 

290 sorrow's circuit. 

"Well, Spencer, do you believe God's -word?" 

As this question was asked, a new power seemed to 
take hold of his mind ; and again looking me in the face, 
he took up his Bible, which was lying by his pillow, and 
holding it above his head, said, with much feeling, "Yes, 
I believe every word in this book." 

"Very well, then, so far so good. Now that book has 
this blessed promise written in it : ' Ask, and it shall he 
giv&n unto you ; seek, arid ye shall find ; knock, and it 
shall he opened unto you.' " 

" So it has. Sir." 

" And you believe that you will find mercy ; but you 
put off the day of your acceptance, and that causes the 
vacuum you speak of. You believe that at some future 
time you will be blessed with pardon and peace ; but God 
says, 'Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day 
of salvation.' 

" Come, shall we go for it now, Spencer ? I see some 
food here on a dish. Now, suppose I had come in here 
hungry, almost starving, and on declaring that I was al- 
most ready to die for want of food, had been told that I 
should help myself to the contents of this dish, which 
were free, and yet I sat still and made no effort to ob- 
tain the desired food ; would the sight of the food, or the 
permission and invitation to eat it, be of any service in 
allaying my hunger, if I did nothing more ? Now, that 


is just your position. God's feast is already spread, and 
you are invited to come notv, and eat and live forever. 
Let us go up now, then, if you are willing and ready, 
and receive the promised blessing." 

I kneeled down with the aged penitent, and in our 
hearts we went together to the throne of grace, and there 
wrestled in prayer. God seemed to be very near to us, 
and while we were believing and pleading the promises, 
I heard the sick man say, " Glory — Glory — Glory ! 
Praise the Lord ! Precious Jesus !" 

The work was done, and, I believe, well done. His 
doubts were removed, his fears gone, and there he lay, a 
redeemed soul, saved by the precious blood of Jesus, and 
washed in the fountain of life — the " fountain opened in 
the house of David for sin and uncleannci^s." 

Oh, what a precious -season this was to my soul as well 
as to his ! This was on Friday, and on the next Monday 
morning, after sending his love to me, telling me he 
would meet me in heaven, and exhorting his wife and 
friends around him, he bid all farewell until the morning 
of the resurrection, and passed quietly and peacefully 
over the swellings of Jordan, with a strong hope of ob- 
taining an "abundant entrance" into the realms of bliss 
immortal, where there are no poor, and no sick, and 
where there will be no more sorrow nor death. 

Blessed be God for the privilege of taking the bread 

292 sorrow's circuit. 

of life to dying sinners, that bread "of whicli, if a man 
eat, lie shall live forever." 

Oh ! how my heart exults when I hear a poor sinner 
say, " My sins are pardoned — I am free. The Son hath 
made me free." 

Oh ! how I love the precious Christ, who receives *the 
poor rag-picker, or bone-gatherer, or the beggar that 
goes from door to door, with as much freedom and affec- 
tion as he would a prince ! 

How glad I am to know that the Gospel of the Son of 
God is not confined to the mighty, or the noble, or the 
rich that are clothed in purple and fine linen, and fare 
sumptuously every day ; but that the poor especially 
have the Gospel preached unto them, and believing that 
Gospel are saved from their sins, and, blessed be God, if 
faithful till death, are saved forever ! Thank God, the 
gates of Gospel grace are open to all, yea, even to the 
outcasts of society ; and whosoever will, no matter how 
vile, or how low they may have sunken, may enter in, 
and partake of the waters of life freely. 

But we promised a contrast between two dying per- 
sons. The history of one you have had above, and now 
for the sad contrast. For we do not always succeed in 
persuading sinners to come in faith to Christ for salva- 
tion. Some prefer to trust in what they themselves do, 


and lience are not saved ; tliey " will not come to Christ 
that they might have life." 

One evening, while enjoying ourselves in an Experi- 
ence-meeting in our Mission-rooms, I was invited to go 
and see a dying woman in the immediate neighborhood. 
HeF friends desired some one to pray for her. When 
we entered the room, which was rather better furnished 
than that of the old man above mentioned, we found a 
crowd of frightened people, who had been attracted 
thither by the groans of the dying sinner. 

Oh, how dreadful was this place ! — a soul about to be 
launched into eternity, and yet unprepared for the judg- 
ment ! The thought sent an icy chill to my very heart. 
The poor woman's agony was thrilling, and her cries 
heart-rending. While the horror of the scene was height- 
ened by the awful curses and dreadful blasphemy of a 
wicked man, close by the door. 

"We urged the dying sinner to look to Christ, — to be- 
hold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the 
world. We tried to show her Christ in the garden and 
on the cross — to exhibit to her mind the scene of Cal- 
vary just asitwas when Christ cried, " It is finished," and 
gave up the ghost. We did all we could to persuade her 
to look to her loving Saviour ; but all in vain. She saw 
nothing but a burning hell before her ; and though we 
endeavored to direct her gaze to the Crucified, yet the 

294 sorrow's circuit. 

fires of that hell so dimmed her vision, that she could 

see neither the cross nor the Saviour. 

We kneeled in prayer : after singing, 

" Alas ! and did my Saviour bleed, 
And did my Sovereign die !" 

The woman screamed, the man on the outside cursed, 
while we prayed with all the energy we possessed. -The 
mingled sounds of groans, and curses, and prayers, pre- 
sented a fearful contrast, and rendered the scene inde- 
scribably awful. Long did we struggle at the throne of 
grace, but rose only to find the miserable woman almost 
dead. Her voice was growing feeble, her limbs were 
getting cold, and in half an hour she died ; and almost 
the last words she uttered Avere, "burning hell." 

Oh ! how different was her death from that of poor old 
William S. whose case heads this chapter, or that of a 
woman I visited since the above, who, when I asked her 
what were her hopes beyond the grave, answered most 
explicitly, and in fewer words than I had ever before 
heard used under such circumstances, " The sting is re- 
moved !" 

Four words ! but oh ! what a world of meaning is in 
them ! " The sting of death is sin, and the strength of 
sin is the law ; but thanks be unto God that giveth us 
the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 

Christ by his death has atoned for sin and met the 


claims of the divine law ; and now all that trust in him 
are saved from the sting of death, because saved from 
sin. Amazing love ! Wondrous condescension on the 
part of Jesus ! 

" Oh I for this love let rocks and hills 
Their lasting silence break, 
And all harmonious human tongues 
Their Saviour's praises speak !" 




The scene that burst upon my view, as I entered the 
miserable hovel of a poor beggar, a few months since, is 
still fresh in my recollection. It was in the midst of 
winter, and just at the close of a most disagreeable 
storm that had left the streets, previously covered with 
snow to the depth of six inches, one continued slush. 

The room which I entered was a kind of basement 
kitchen, about half sunken in the ground, poorly lighted, 
poorly ventilated, and still more poorly furnished. The 
water from the melting snow had found its way beneath 
the door, and stood in pools upon the rotting floor. The 
stove — a bottomless wash-kettle — was destitute of fire, 
and all was cold, and damp, and wretchedly gloomy 
within. In one corner of this miserable hovel was a 
bed of straw, lying upon the floor, and covered with 
rags ; and on this bed was prostrate, in a helpless con- 
dition, from the effects of frosted feet which had been 


neglected, a poor man, in whose bosom nestled a poorly- 
clad infant three or four months old, that was whining 
for its mother, and at whose back lay an older child 
shivering with cold, and endeavoring to obtain a little 
warmth from the fevered body of his afflicted father. 

But the wife and mother was not there. She was out 
in the street, trudging through the slush with almost 
shoeless feet, and with basket in hand, begging from door 
to door for a little bread to save herself and family from 
starving. But alas! for this wretched mother. She 
meets with poor success ; and after wandering from Bed- 
ford street to Market street, and meeting with scowling 
looks, and angry words, and heartless repulses alike from 
servant and master, rich and poor, Christian and infidel, 
she returns disheartened and sorrowful to her cheerless 
home, bearing in her basket but a single piece of water- 
soaked bread. 

Need we wonder if, under the circumstances, she was 
tempted to regard the world as the habitation of demons 
rather than men, and to look upon Christianity as a 
grand farce, and its votaries as the basest of hypocrites ? 
Need we wonder if she were even led to murmur against 
the ways of Providence, and tempted, like afflicted Job, 
to curse God and die ? 

But God, who is merciful to all his children, and whose 
hand is ever stretched out to relieve the wants of the suf- 

298 • " sorrow's circuit. 

fering and the destitute, had compassion on this poor 
family, and sent his unworthy servant, the Bedford 
street Missionary, to their relief, just at the moment 
when his services were most needed. 

And most gladly did I take from the fund furnished 
me by benevolent friends for the relief of the needy, the 
amount necessary to supply their present wants, and to 
render them a little more comfortable for the future. 
The old wash-boiler stove was made warm, the table and 
the cupboard were supplied with wholesome food and 
groceries, the bed of straw and rags gave place to a more 
comfortable one which was placed on a bedstead, and the 
poor afflicted man and his half-frozen little ones were 
made as happy as could be under the circumstances ; 
while the barefooted, half-naked, and almost perishing 
mother was made to feel that God was still good, man 
still benevolent and sympathetic, and Christianity still 
what it claims to be. 

Well was it for this family that there was a Young 
Men's Central Home Mission in Bedford street ; for had 
not their missionary found them when he did, they must 
have perished. 

But as it was, Providence not only gave us the oppor- 
tunity to do good to the bodies of those that were ready 
to perish, but, through this, gave us access also to the 
heart of the afflicted man. In about a month after this 


he died in peace, having obtained, as we had reason to 
believe, reconciliation with God through the blood and 
mediation of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

But this is only a specimen of our work, and of the 
sorrows with which Ave are constantly surrounded. For 
here, as our brother, the Rev. J. P. DuHamel, has 
truthfully sung, in a Poem written for our Bedford Street 
Mission Journal, here are 

" Oity sorrows ! sorrows ! sorrows ! 
Availing on the midnight air, 
As the melancholy murmur 
Of the tempest from afar. 

Like the blood of murdered Abel 
Crying from the ground to God ; 

Come those sighings, wailings, sorrows, 
Speaking of our brother's blood — 

Speaking of the wrongs inflicted 
On the weak and helpless poor. 

On the weak and helpless women. 
Begging alms from door to door. 

Sorrows of the broken hearted — 
Crushed and broken in life's care, 

Groaning in unuttered anguish. 
Pining, sinking in despair. 

300 sorrow's circuit. 

From the Bare-Foot Beggar Children, 
From the curs'd of age and sin, 

From the breast -where fading virtue 
Sighs for what she might have been. 

From the dark, damp, dismal cellars — 
Haunts of squalor, woe, and grief, 

Come these bitter City Sorrows, 
Sighing, pleading for relief — 

Sorrows from the darksome alleys. 
Where the wretched prowl for spoil ; 

From the high and lonesome garrets, 
Where the weak are worn with toil — 

From the Venom- Vender s brothel, 
From the drunkard-maker's den. 

Come the sorrows and the curses 
Of inebriated men — 

Come the wail of wives and mothers. 
Come the starving children's cry, 

As they lay them down together, 
Fold their little hands to die. 

These are but ascending vapors. 

Till the gathering storm, o'erspread — 

Bursts in dreadful retribution 
On the doom-devoted head. 


Ye wlio live in pomp and splendor — 
Ye who dwell from want secure ; 

Think of those who, for your plenty, 
Die of hunger at your door. 

Hear the wailings of the night-wind, 
At your windows — round your bed. 

These are but the yearnings, SorrowSf 
Of the poor that cry for bread. 

These are but your City Sorrows, 
Welling up from souls distressed, 

Crying to the Lord's Anointed, 

That their wrongs may be redressed — • 

Pleading with the Man of Sorrows, 

For the dawning of the Day, 
When our sighings and our sorrows 
^ Shall forever flee away.' " 




Soon after the organization of our Mission, some of 
tlie brethren proposed to widen the field of our opera- 
tions ; and accordingly they appointed a committee, who 
selected as a suitable place for a new preaching appoint- 
ment a spot located under the trees on the Gray's Ferry 
Road. This spot we occupied all summer, though not 
without continual annoyance from one individual in par- 
ticular. He would come on the ground every Sunday 
drunk and noisy, and consequently he gave the commit- 
tee and preacher a good deal of trouble. They, how- 
ever, treated him kindly, — bore with his folly, and often 
gave him tracts, which he would take to the tavern 
keeper, who, with his drunken customers, would fre- 
quently have a merry time over their contents. 

In the fall, the managers rented a small church at 
the corner of twenty-third and Lombard streets, for- 
merly occupied by a Baptist society, but now vacant. 


Here we commenced by organizing a Sabbath-school, 
and soon after a society also according to the discipline 
of the M. E. Church. And here, in the fall of Eigh- 
teen hundred and fifty-four, we commenced a Protracted- 
meeting, which we continued through several weeks, not- 
withstanding we were holding a similar meeting at the 
same time in Bedford street. As may well be supposed, 
the holding of two Protracted-meetings at the same time, 
besides the constant daily calls to the homes of the des- 
titute and dying, was a severe tax upon the physical 
strength of the Missionary. But the results of both 
meetings were of so thrilling a character, that he forgot 
in the excitement of success his own bodily comfort. 

Pitman chapel was prospering. Brethren and sisters 
from other churches came with their transfer letters to 
the number of some twenty, and joined our infant church, 
thus swelling the ranks with good, and true, and efficient 
working Christians. And no where else, perhaps, within 
the limits of the city, was there needed more than in 
this locality, just such an organization. There was not 
a free seated church within six squares of this point. 
Churches for fashionable people with rustling silks and 
fine broad-cloths, were plenty ; but there was no place 
for a man with a check shirt, or a woman with a shilling-a- 
yard gown. And as a matter of course, many of this 
class of people heard no Gospel sermon the year round, 

304 sorrow's circuit. 

for they were too poor to pay for pews, and tliey were 
too proud or too meanly clad to occupy the seats set 
apart in these aristocratic churches for the poor. 

As might be expected under such circumstances, our 
congregation there constantly increased, and our Sab.- 
bath-school grew so rapidly that, before the close of the 
first year, we had the names of over three hundred pu- 
pils enrolled, and, on the whole, one of the best schools 
I ever saw. 

It was a neighborhood of poor people, and therefore 
they must have a plain church, and a plain Gospel, with 
a plain preacher, who would not hesitate, as occasion 
offered, to sit with them in their humble dwellings, and 
to talk freely and frankly about Jesus and the Way of 

But we began this chapter, not so much to write the 
history of Pitman chapel, as to relate the conversion of 
a man who was indeed plucked as a brand from the 

The man we refer to is the one mentioned in the com- 
mencement of this chapter, who used to annoy the 
preacher and the people as they worshipped God beneath 
the trees on the Gray's Ferry Road. 

For the eighth time, as he told me himself, he had 
been attacked with Mania a Potu ; and this time the 
terrible disease seemed to baffle all the skill of the doc- 


tors. And after a week's fight with devils, and all 
manner of hobgoblins, rats, snakes, &c., &c., he sunk, 
apparently, into death; was pronounced dead by the 
doctors, washed and laid out by his friends for burial, 
and the time was actually fixed for his interment. But 
lo ! while friends were weeping around him, the dead 
man breathed; and consternation, and fright, and joy, 
took the place of tears, as he sat up restored to con- 
sciousness and reason, and finally, to health. 

Just then the revival at Pitman chapel was in full tide 
of glorious success. Sinners by scores were being con- 
verted to God, and the news of this wondrous work was 
spreading squares around. The dead man, raised to 
life, heard of it, and came to see for himself; and while 
there he was brought to a sense of his condition as a 
sinner, and led by the Spirit to bow at the altar for 
prayer. And here God made him tridij alive in Christ 
Jesus, and he became henceforth a new creature. And 
thus, through the mercy of God, he was restored to the 
possession of spiritual life, as well as to that of the body. 
The first restoration was marvellous, because uncommon ; 
the second glorious, because of its results. 

And now with body and soul restored to health, this 
man may be seen week after week, in the Sabbath-school, 
teaching the young to avoid the rock by which his little 

bark had well nigh been wrecked, and all his hopes for 
20 ^ 

306 sorrow's circuit. 

time and for eternity been placed in jeopardy. Or he 
may be seen in the prayer-meeting, offering up his heart- 
dictated prayers to God for grace and strength to keep 
in the way of life ; or, in the class-meeting, telling of 
the wonderful dealings of God with his soul, that God 

— " speaks, and list'ning to his voice, 
New life the dead receive." 

Almost five years have passed away since his conver- 
sion, and he still remains a faithful, consistent, and de- 
voted member of the church of Christ, — a miracle of 
grace, — a brand truly plucked from the burning. 

Long may he remain in the church militant to show 
to the world, that by the power of Christ, even "the 
dead are raised up, while the poor have the Gospel 
preached unto them." 




*' "While life prolongs its precious light, 

Mercy is found, and peace is given ; 
But soon, ah ! soon, approaching night 

Shall blot out every hope of heaven. 
Soon, borne on time's most rapid wing, 

Shall death command you to the grave, 
Before His bar your spirits bring. 

And none be found to hear or save. 

In that lone land of deep despair. 

No Sabbath's heavenly light shall rise, — 
No God regard your bitter prayer, 

No Saviour call you to the skies. 
Now God invites ; how blest the day ! 

How sweet the Gospel's charming sound ! 
Come, sinners, haste, haste away. 

While yet a pard'ning God is found." — Dwight. 

But -what procrastinator regards Dwight, or any other 
Christian who presumes to admonish him of his danger, 


as anything more than a zealot, who with overweening 
zeal, is trying to scare people to believe something and 
do something entirely out of the course of nature and 
contrary to the dictates of reason ? 

Or, if such believe in revealed religion at all, they re- 
ply to all who urge "to-day" as the time to seek the sal- 
vation of their souls, "I am not dying to-day — it is time 
enough yet — there is no danger of my being lost — I will 
attend to the matter in good time." 

But do not those, who thus reason, virtually say, " I 
love sin better than holiness, and as God is merciful, I 
will presume on that mercy and sin on a little longer?" 

And, because he is merciful, you will sin against hjm, 
and serve the enemy of your soul until you come to the 
few last breaths of your life ; and then you will offer 
your filthy and polluted heart to God, just as you are 
dying, and when you can render his cause no possible 
Bervice whatever. 

Then with a repentance like a criminal on the gallows, 
who does not really repent of the crime that brought 
him there, but whose anguish is caused by the fearful 
death that awaits him, you will go to your offended God, 
impelled only by an agonizing fear of a burning hell and 
not by the attractions of religion, the love of God, the 
condescension of Christ, or the joys of heaven. 

Procrastinating sinner, read the following : 


There was a young man in the neighborhood of our 
Mission who was plead with, time and again, to come 
and hear the gospel. As the church was near, he might 
have come without much trouble. He was urged also to 
prepare for the. day of Judgment. He acknowledged 
that a preparation for the future was necessary, and that 
he intended sometime to give the subject his attention, 
but he thought there was no need of particular hurry, 
and that it was time enough yet. And thus he went on, 
careless and prayerless, until one evening in last Septem- 
ber, when his friend, one of our managers, called in, to 
give him another invitation to come and hear the Gospel, 
— but found it was now too late. 

The young man had sat down to supper that evening 
in good health, and with an excellent appetite ; but as 
he began to eat, he had a slight tickling in the throat, 
that caused him to cough, when, horrible to relate ! the 
blood gushed out in a stream from his mouth and nos- 
trils. He was taken into the yard where every effort 
was made to stop the hemorrhage, but all in vain. He 
continued to bleed until exhausted nature had to yield to 
death's stern demand; and in one short half hour, 
from the time he took his seat at the tea-table, he lay in 
the arms of his friends a lifeless corpse. 

He waited for to-morrow, — and to him to-morrow came, 
but with a frown from Him whose voice he had often 


heard without regard : — a frown from him, who to the 
finally impenitent will pronounce the solemn word depart; 
a word that will wither the heart, frenzy the mind, and 
blight forever the hope offered to man in his probationary 

" Death enters, and there's no defence ; 
His time there's none can tell ; 
He'll in a moment call thee hence, 

To heaven, or down to hell. 
Thy flesh, — perhaps thy greatest care, — 
^Shall into dust consume ; 
But, ah ! destruction stops not there ; 
Sin kills beyond the tomb. 





We would warn young men, especially those coming 
from the country, who are desirous to take up their resi- 
dence among the citizens of this, or any other large 
city, to be careful of their company. For I assure them 
that scores, if not hundreds of young men, have been 
allured by smooth-tongued villains into the haunts of 
vice, whence they have returned, if they ever did return 
at all, with ruined fortunes, blighted health, and blasted 

A young man came here from the country, some time 
since, hale and hearty, and quite manly in his appear- 
ance. He had saved by his hard work about two hun- 
dred dollars, which he hoped to invest in some profitable 
business. This fact soon became known to a woman 
living near our Mission, who set herself to work most 
industriously to get the money. In executing her plans 
she was led to put her poor victim under the influence 


12 sorrow's circuit. 

of rum, and in this condition she kept him for about ten 
weeks, till the last dollar was gone, and his physical 
strength well nigh exhausted. He then fell a prey to 
the Mania a Potu ; and being destitute of all means of 
support, he was sent to the Alms-house, where he died 
in about a week's time a wretched, hopeless death. 

While I write this chapter, a man genteely dressed is 
lying asleep in my office. He came in to take the 
pledge ; and now he lies sleeping off his potations of bad 
whiskey, while his wife, poor woman ! is doubtless at her 
home weeping for her lost husband, and his children are 
wondering why father stays so long away. 

When this unfortunate man put his name to the 
pledge that I administered, I observed that he wrote a 
bold, free hand, indicating that he had had the advan- 
tages of a liberal education, and that his social position 
had not always been what it now was. On making in- 
quiry, I found that I was not mistaken in my surmises 
in regard to him. His relatives were of high standing 
in the community. 

But coming into this locality with money and a good 
suit of clothes, he by some means had fallen into the 
hands of sharpers, who had succeeded in getting him 
drunk, and were now about to fleece him of every thing 
he possessed. Most fortunate was it for him that he 
found his way to the Mission-house. 


Let me give another instance. 

A countryman came to town to see the " Elephant," 
I suppose, and soon got the sight, if I am any judge. 
When I found him he was lying on his back in the mid- 
dle of the street, and a lusty woman was engaged in 
pulling the coat from his back, while a dozen idle va- 
grants stood looking on as unconcernedly as though it 
was all play. She had taken his watch already, and 
now she wanted his coat also to sell for whiskey. I put 
a stop to the proceedings, and had the watch taken from 
her and restored to the owner. But what was the use ? 
he would not go home, nor quit the neighborhood, and 
hence the stripping of the man was only a matter of 
time, not of fact ; it was surely done. 

About two days as a general thing is sufficient to 
empty a well filled purse, and to transform the well- 
dressed gentleman into the loathsome beggar, with rag- 
ged clothes, toeless shoes, and crownless hat. And the 
trouble is, if some one don't dress these victims of the 
sharpers in something whole and clean, they will never 
.go home; for they are ashamed to go back in rags and 
dirt to their families and friends, and hence many of 
them remam here to be the victims of disease and want, 
and to fall a prey ultimately to a terrible death by 
Mania a Potu. 

314 sorrow's circuit. 

I know quite a number now that were once hard- 
working men and women, and who, while drunk, stag- 
gered this way, fell into the hands of thieves and rum- 
sellers, and are now miserable victims of sin, naturalized 
to this living death, and no argument can persuade them 

Allow me in this place to say to young men coming 
to the city, — Take good care how you form acquaintance 
with strangers, or allow yourselves to be enticed into 
strange houses. You had better remain in your boarding- 
house all the time, than run the risk of being ruined both 
body and soul. There are sharpers on hand always, 
ready to get your money by the practice of deceptions 
calculated to deceive the most wary. 

For the benefit of the uninitiated, let me relate the 
case of a merchant from Franklin county, who came to 
make his first purchase in Philadelphia. 

He was met near the Exchange by a man he had for- 
merly known in Chambersburg, and who at the time of 
their intimacy bore a fair character. This old friend 
pretended to be here buying goods ; but as he was in no 
great hurry to return home, the two friends walked about 
town together, drank together, and ate together ; and so 
the evening found them both sitting in a fashionable 
Restaurant, engaged in conversation, and apparently 
delighted with each other's company. 


While thus engaged, a young man of genteel appear- 
ance entered in a great hurry, and with many apologies, 
asked Mr. A. if he could not cash a bill of goods he had 
bought that morning. The firm, he said, were in great 
need of a certain amount of money to make a remittance, 
which must be sent by this night's mail. 

Mr. A. said it was all right, — the bill was correct, and 
proceeded forthwith to pay the amount, eight hundred 
dollars, to the pretended clerk, handing him two five 
hundred dollar notes. The sham clerk could not change 
the note, and here w^as trouble. The landlord was 
asked to change one of the notes, but as he had not 
money enough about him to do it, he of course declined, 
though he believed the note to be perfectly good. The 
note was then handed round the room to a number of 
fine looking gentlemen dressed with splendid suits of 
broadcloth, and massive gold watches, and heavy gold 
chains. But no one could change it. Rolls of notes 
turned out, but not enough ; yet the note was good, and 
they would change it in a minute if they had the money. 

And now our friend was appealed to, as a favor to an 
old acquaintance, and as he had to lay it out the next 
day, it would make no difference to him. So they said, 
and so he believed, and accordingly changed the note. 
The sham clerk left in a hurry, of course, to take the 
money to the firm of Gull & Co. 

316 sorrow's circuit. 

Soon after, the customer who had just paid his bill to 
the above firm, left also with a promise to see his friend 
soon again. But he did not return, and my friend think- 
ing and feeling a little queer, perhaps in part from drink, 
and part from the slowness of his friend to redeem his 
promise, returned to his lodgings, showed the note to the 
landlord, who pronounced the thing to be a rank coun- 
terfeit. And so he lost five hundred dollars by being 
"green." His Chambersburg friend proved to be a 
stool pigeon for a gang of thieves that infest the city 
of Philadelphia. He was afterwards apprehended, tried, 
convicted, and sent to the Penitentiary for three years. 

I give these cases as a warning to young men coming 
to the city either to live or to deal. Be on your guard, 
and learn the following verses, so as to repeat them, 
without the book. They may save you a good many 
aches and pains, or pence and pounds, as the case may 

" Bid me of men beware, 

And to my ways take heed ; 
Discern their every secret snare, 
And circumspectly tread. 

My spirit, Lord, alarm, 

When men and devils join ; 
'Gainst all the powers of Satan arm, 

In panoply Divine. 


Oh may I set my face, 

His onsets to repel ; 
Quench all his fiery darts, and chase 

The fiend to his own hell. 

But above all, afraid 

Of my own bosom foe, 
Still let me seek to Thee for aid, 

To Thee my weakness show." — C. Wesley. 

318 sorrow's circuit. 



Oh what music is in that word — Mother ! There is a 
charm in its very sound that thrills the soul. Who does 
not know its power ? 

He whose heart cannot he aroused hy that sweet word 
must he far gone in crime, and devoid of the feelings of 
common humanity. Or else, that mother has not taken 
pains to show a proper regard for her oflfspring — has not 
drawn her children to her heart, and bound them there 
forever by her untiring care and kindness — has mani- 
fested no anxiety for them when she discovered their re- 
bellious or licentious spirit; or, even by her silence, 
when reproof was needed, seemed to give them licence to 

One day we met a man in Baker street, nearly naked. 
I soon recognized in him the son of one of the best 
families in the upper part of the city. I knew his father 
to be an influential and devoted Christian, and his mo- 

MOTHER. 819 

ther, to the last hour of her life, one of the faithful few 
who "stood up for Jesus," and the simplicity of the Gos- 
pel of Christ. 

Mother W was a woman of dignified and noble 

bearing, and when we ( in former years) saw her walking 
down the aisle, to her seat in the church, we were prone 
to say, "Behold an Israelite indeed." She was not one 
of those everlasting "talkers" about religion, but a doer 
of the work ; but her words, when she told her experi- 
ence, took a deep hold upon the hearts of all that heard 
them. Her "words were with power." 

And then her care for her children was untiring. She 
was firm and discreet, yet kind and affectionate in the 
exercise of discipline. Her code of moral ethics was 
drawn from the teachings of Christ and his inspired 
apostles. She would make no compromise with any 
other teacher, nor for a moment allow the opinions of 
men or the customs of the world to interfere in her God- 
inspired work of instilling religious principles into the 
hearts as well as the heads of her children. 

In this school — nay, that is not the word ; it wants a 
Bweeter word — a name, too, that has a charm in it — that 
name is Home — in this home was reared as fine a familv 
as the city can boast of. Most of the children are 
grown to majority, and are prosperous, because they are 

320 sorrow's circuit. 

But you may imagine my consternation in seeing a 
son of this sainted woman in Baker street, near the door 
of a grogshop of a noted burglar, where black and white 
of the very lowest grade gather to drink whiskey at one 
cent per glass. 

As I approached he tried to shun me. Shame was 
not all gone. I called him to me, to have a private talk. 
He commenced by saying: — 

" Mr. Sewell, I am very sorry you have caught me in 
such a place as this. You see me in a sad plight." 

" Can it be possible I find you here — a young man of 
your raising and education and skill as a mechanic ? 
What could have induced you to leave your excellent 
wife and those sweet little babes who are mourning your 
absence ? Think of those you have left to do the best 
they can, while you are here swilling down that poison- 
ous stufi", that will most certainly kill you, soul and body, 
if you do not speedily abandon it. And it will soon do 
its work of death ! Why, close to where we stand — in 
that yard — a man died from drinking too much rum — 
and yonder in that stable yard, not long since, a woman 
met the same fate from the same cause — and round in 

Mrs. 's cellar two died in one day froi]a whiskey — 

and opposite to where we are standing a woman, a young 
woman, died drunk — and in that place Emma B. fell 

MOTHER. 321 

dead while begging another glass. Now, my dear fellow, 
wake up to your terrible danger." 

" I know it, I know it, it's all true. I am going 

But I saw I had not reached his heart. In vain did I 
point out to him his ragged associates ; in vain did I 
show him his own rags ; all was vain, until I reminded 
him of that mother whose mortal remains now lie low in 
the grave, and how that holy woman had prayed for him, 
and in her closet prayed with him. Now she had ceased 
to pray, her voice he could no longer hear ; but, said I, 
yonder she is in bright glory, and now mingles her voice 
in sweet melody with the redeemed ; or, perhaps, she is 
looking earnestly and anxiously to see whether you will 
turn your feet into the narrow path, and by and by meet 
her in heaven. 

"Oh spare me!" said he. "Don't mention my mo- 
ther. You hurt my feelings. I'll go away from this as 
soon as night comes." And with streaming eyes he 
signed the temperance pledge. His heart was reached 
by that precious word mother, when* every other argu- 
ment had failed, and all those sad and tragic picturea^re- 
sented to his view had left him unmoved. Yes ! that 
single word, Mother, whispered in the poor loafer's ears, 
roused him from his stupid infatuation — broke the en- 
chanting chain that bound him to a life of wretchedness, 

322 sorrow's cmcuTT. 

that was dragging liini down in fearful haste to endless 
ruin — broke the spell that bound him to this evil spot, 
where fiends incarnate reveled in his downfall. 

After signing the pledge he went to his home, in the 
neighborhood of which I since saw him, comfortably clad 
and sober ; and let us pray that his heart may be 
changed by grace divine, and when his father falls, which 
soon must be ( for he is old and infirm), he may take his 
place in the church of God. 

" Tbe loDg lost son, with streaming eyes, 

From folly just awake, 
Reviews his wand'rings with surprise. 

His heart begins to break. 
With deep repentance I'll return 

And seek my father's face ; 
Unworthy to be called a son, 

I'll ask a servant's place." 




I AM often asked by persons passing through this dis- 
trict, " How do the people live in this neighborhood ? 
"Where do such immense numbers come from ? Where 
do they stay ?" 

Why, sir, you have not seen the half of our popula- 
tion yet. Just get up a dog-fight, or a man, or woman- 
fight, and then you'll see a crowd of wretched beings 
that would beggar all description. 

But " where do- they come from ?" 

Well, sir, I'll tell you. Though you may not believe 
it, yet it is nevertheless true, that there is a family in 
every room of almost every house in this vicinity. The 
exceptions are but few. In some houses there are from 
ten to sixteen families stowed away, whilst many others 
have eight and ten ; and in some places I know of two 
and three men and their wives living, cooking, eating, 
and sleeping in the one room. 

324 sorrow's circuit. 

I saw a woman not long since die on the floor of a 
room, (or rather a cellar,) in Which there were two beds, 
but no room for her in either of them. 

All these tenants pay by the week, or night, counting 
six nights to the week, and paying invariably in advance ; 
the rent rating from six to twelve cents per night. If 
a cellar has no floor in it, it can be had for six or eight 
cents ; if there is a floor, then twelve cents per night 
can be obtained very readily for its use. If the rooms 
above ground are plastered, and a good many are not, 
and are hardly fit for cow-stables or hog-pens, the rent 
is twelve cents per night. The landlord taking good 
care not to allow more than two or three nights to pass 
without the rent ; and when the tenants come short of 
this rule, a sort of sham notice, — a piece of printed 
paper issued by that important dignitary, which belongs 
to, and is so essential in a neighborhood like this, — I 
mean an Alderman. This paper is served with a great 
deal of dignity by the Ward Constable, and purports to 
be a notice to move within five days, which if they do 
not do, they are set out according to the law of the^ 
Fourth Ward of Philadelphia. 

This '■^setting out," I have often witnessed. Some- 
times the landlord in addition takes the privilege also of 
whipping his tenants, because they do not pay up. Only 
a few days previous to the writing of this chapter, I 


found a man with his head badly cut with an iron bar in 
the hand of his landlord, because he was going to the 
fisheries (where he could have earned the money) in 
debt for rent to the amount of seventy-five cents. For 
this meagre sum the poor fellow was so badly beaten as 
not to be able to go to his work for some time. 

This beating the money out of delinquent tenants is 
no strange thing, and has ceased to be wondered at in 
this community. Indeed there are no wonders here, 
unless it be a man who keeps strictly sober all the year 
round, or a woman who lives in this infected district 
and yet retains her virtue. But even when such won- 
ders are found, which is occasionally the case, such is 
the low state of morals among this people, that, as a 
general thing, the sober man and the virtuous woman 
are no more respected than their drunken and profligate 

But we must keep to the text. We were tilling of 
landlords whipping the rent out of their tenants, and 
then turning tenants and furniture all out into the street. 

I have known this " Comedy of Errors" to be carried 
so far as to put the tenant in prison besides ; and not 
once merely, but many times have I had to use my in- 
fluence to get them out again, so that they might look 
after their homeless children. This thing on one occa- 
sion ended in a tragedy. 

326 sorrow's circuit. 

The case was this. A German, by the name of Ere- 
heart, was being set out in Bedford street near our Mis- 
sion-house, and because the poor man remonstrated, the 
landlord whipped him severely, and then trumped up a 
charge against him before a celebrated Alderman not a mile 
off, who, being of that class of these functionaries, (there 
are others like him,) who send all to jail if the costs are 
not pai^, which are " managed" up to the amount of two 
dollars, made out a commitment for the unhappy man ; 
and so poor Ereheart, for the first time in his life, was 
locked up in Moyamensing prison, for he knew not 
what, leaving his wife, a blind woman, and her two chil- 
dren homeless, and as he thought, friendless. The poor 
German in his despair and fright, that same night, took 
his cravat, tied it round his neck, and then fastening it 
round the iron grating of his cell, hung himself, and was 
here found, on the following morning, by the oflScers of 
the prison cold in death ; all of which is still fresh in 
the memories of the hundreds of thousands of readers of 
the city dailies. 

An appeal was made by the then President of our so- 
ciety. Brother E. S. Yard, to the humane of this city 
through the columns of the daily press ; and a noble 
response to the amount of six hundred dollars was 
handed over to him for the benefit of the widow. But 
though blind and destitute she is not disposed to be a 


tax upon the benevolent if she can help it. She has 
therefore commenced the sale of matches in the street, 
where she may be seen almost every day. And I hope, 
kind reader, if you should meet her in your walks that 
you will encourage her by purchasing some of her 
matches, even if you give them away, and thus add your 
little mite to the poor widow's treasury. 

But how mysterious are the providences of God ! and 
how often does he make the wrath of man to praise him I 
This poor blind woman would, perhaps, never have 
heard the Gospel but for this event. She found that 
she had friends, and though she could not see them, siu 
wanted to hear their friendly voices ; and in doing thiy, 
she heard also the Gospel of Christ, became awakened, 
was led to our altar, where she was pointed to Him who 
restoreth sight to the blind ; and, spiritually, she came 
seeing Him who ever liveth to make intercession for us, 
believed in Him as her Saviour, and found the peace for 
which she sighed. This has been .flowing through her 
soul now for about five years, and she says she is deter- 
mined to fight on till the end of the war, when she ex- 
pects to receive the victor's crown from the soft hand of 
Jesus, the Captain of her salvation, whom she shall then 
look upon with her opened eyes, and forever praise v/ith 
an unfaltering tongue. 

I undertook, on one occasion, to stop this "setting 

328 sorrow's circuit. 

out" in so summary a manner, and accordingly •wrote a 
note to a landlord, saying, that if he turned a certain 
poor woman out without the '■'■ tliirty days"' notice re- 
quired by law, I would spend some money in testing the 
legality of the proceeding. The fellow, on meeting me 
shortly afterward, walked coolly up to me, and asked if 
that was my writing, showing me at the same time a pa- 
per. I answered in the affirmative. He then gave me 
to understand that he would do as he pleased, and more 
than that, if I persisted in my undertaking, I would find 
that I was treading on dangerous ground. I knew what 
that meant, and as I was not quite good enough for mar- 
tyrdom, nor quite willing enough to sacrifice my life, I 
let the whole thing take its course. And so now, when 
we find the poor turned out into the street, we go and 
hunt a room somewhere else and put them in it, pay a 
week's rent in advance, pray with them, and then go on 
our way rejoicing that we have the privilege of doing 

One more case and we will dismiss this sad subject. 
And I hope the hero of this almost tragedy which I am 
about to relate will read this chapter, and be led to pray 
to God for that mercy which he so much needs. He will 
know himself when he sees this picture. 

A poor old Christian woman, perhaps seventy years 
of age, had a sick son, somewhere rising thirty. This 


young man was all tlie support his aged mother had, and 
all of kin, except a daughter in New York, that she 
could claim on earth. 

When we found him we at once saw that he was 
rapidly sinking with consumption, and that both mother 
and son would, in all probability, soon find a common 
grave. We, therefore, set ourselves to work to do what 
we could to help both to get safely out of this world of 
poverty and suffering, and to secure for themselves an 
admission to the happier climes of Paradise. 

I found in that old mother a submissive sufferer of the 
will of God ; and many a time has my heart been filled 
with emotions of joy in listening to the experience of this 
infirm child of poverty and of sorrow, and in hearing 
the recital of the thrilling scenes of other days through 
which she had been called to pass in the wilds of 
America. Her trials of faith in her long sojourn in the 
wilderness, were indeed valuable lessons to my own mur- 
muring heart ; and even yet I still fancy that I can see 
and hear that excellent woman, as she would stand up in 
the majesty of a Christian, and with tearful eye and 
heaving bosom, declare " that God was good, and that 
she put all her trust in him." 

But the war was not yet over, nor the last victory won. 
Unknown to us, for she did not like to toll us, and una- 
voidably upon her part, she had fallen behind in the pay- 

830 sorrow's circuit. 

ment of her rent to the amount of about three dollars. 
But as her landlord held a pew in a church, and talked 
some fine things in sympathy for the poor, and was a 
contributor to soup-houses, &c., &c., &c., of course the 
poor woman felt somewhat easy as to any serious conse- 
quences on this score. She said, if she could only see 
her son well once more, then all would be made right 
with the landlord and everybody else. In the meanAvhile 
we were doing our best to bring comforts to the sick man, 
and to provide food for his mother. But what was my sur- 
prise, on knocking at the door one day, to be told by the 
next door neighbors that they had been " set out" by this 
very landlord ! And if he don't know it already, let him 
know it now, that the sick man died inside of a week 
after that setting out ; and I have no doubt the excite- 
ment and change of atmosphere hurried him to his long 
home, leaving the poor lone widow to wail in solitude and 
in sorrow over her only stay and only son. The last 
prop of an earthly kind had been knocked away, and she 
had none to lean on but Jesus. Here, and onl^ here, 
could she rest her hope, for who cares for the poor ? If 
they are " God's poor," say the world by their conduct, 
let him take care of them himself. 

Reader, does this language grate on your ear ? "Well, let 
us see if there is not cause for its use. Here is a Mis- 
sion appointed, as we believe, by the Lord of Hosts, to 


gather in the outcasts, hunt up God's poor, search for 
the lost sheep ; a woi-k owned and blessed of God more 
than the most hopeful looked for ; hundreds converted, 
Kcores returned to grieving parents, or husbands, or 
wives ; hundreds of children saved from ignorance and 
vice by sending them to the country, where they are 
happy ; and yet after all this, and notwithstanding the 
church knows it all, for the life of us, we can't keep out 
of debt. "Foreign Missions can get their hundreds of 
thousands for the heathen in foreign lands, tvidle the hun- 
dreds of thousands of home heathen are almost totally 
neglected. Oh ! when will the church take a right view 
of this subject ? 

332 sorrow's circuit. 



In wtat I am about to write I shall have to use cau- 
tion, or my book may get me into trouble. Indeed I 
would not offer the following to the public at all, if I did 
not think it needful that the community should be shown 
the dangerous ground we occupy, and the reader be led 
to sympathize with our converts, and to earnestly pray 
to God in their behalf. 

Mary F., a colored woman, is one of our first converts. 
She has a miserable drunken husband who abuses her in 
a most shameful manner. He will sometimes come to 
the church door while I am preaching, and call out at the 
top of his voice, and with oaths command his wife to 
come home ; and in this and many other ways, he tor- 
ments this poor woman from day to day. 

Added to these sore trials, she has a drunken son, a 
vile and worthless fellow, and had also a dauglitcr about 
eighteen years old, who was the completest sot I have 
ever seen. 


But amid all these great trials, poor Mary stood firm 
" as the beaten anvil to the stVoke" for nearly five years. 
But a greater trial than all awaited her. 

After a night's carousal in some den of infamy, this 
daughter was found lying on a cellar door at daylight 
the next morning. The Police oflScer of the beat tried 
to get her on her feet, so as to lead or drive her away ; 
but she was too drunk to stand up. The oflScer grew 
impatient, and, it is said, struck her in the mouth with 
his mace, or hlack jack, or something else hard enough 
to knock ofi" several teeth, and bruise the flesh in a most 
shocking manner. But this did not help her to walk, 
nor enable the officer to get the better of his temper. 
On the contrary his rage now grew to frenzy, and 
he stamped on her breast with his foot and heavy 
boot repeatedly. ' This fixed the business ; and the poor 
wretched creature had to be carried to her mother's 
house, where I found her a few hours after in an insensi- 
ble condition, and bleeding from the chest profusely. A 
doctor was called in ; but he failed to stop the bleeding ; 
and, as we had kept her too long to claim admission into 
the Pennsylvania hospital, we had her sent to the Block- 
ley almshouse for proper medical treatment ; and there 
she died in four and a half days from the time she was 

Poor Sister F. ! it was a terrible blow to her to have 

So4 sorrow's circuit. 

her child die so entirely unprepared, and in such a waj ; 
but still she put her trust in Him who will avenge his 

Perhaps I am asked in your mind, What was done 
with the officer ? I answer, nothing ! no, not anything, 
except to give him a mock hearing before an Alderman. 

I told the woman to get her witnesses, and to have 
him arrested. I gave her the name also of one who told 
me that he saw the whole of it, and promised me to be 
ready when wanted. (But when the time came he was 

missing.) I directed the sister to Alderman as a 

man that I thought would see that justice was done. 
The warrant was given ; a hearing was had ; the Alder- 
man demanded a certificate from under the- doctor's 
hand as to the cause of her death ; and after a day's 
toil to come up with the doctor of the Alms-house, she 
appeared before the Alderman without the certificate ; 
but she had with her a witness who was ready to testify 
to the beating by the officer, and if he had been bound 
over for trial she could have brought the doctor's testi- 
mony in due time. 

But in the face of all this the Alderman dismissed the 
case ; at the same time warning the poor heart-broken 
mother that she must look out, or she would get herself 
into trouble for bringing such complaints against the 
officers of the law ; and when she remarked, that it was 


hard her child could be murdered in the street in open 
daylight and she have no redress, the Alderman bid her 
give no impudence, and clear out of the office. 

The reader, perhaps, is again asking why I did not 
take this case in hand and see that justice was done. 

I answer, I dare not ; for if I were to have any one 
punished belonging to a certain class of which this officer 
was one, I should have to pay for my temerity with a 
broken head, if not with a bullet or dirk through my 

Only a few weeks before the writing of this, there 
was a mob of Young Killers, men and boys, playing ball 
on Sunday, and mixing their play with bad whiskey. 
This game of pla,^ and drink was carried on all the fore- 
noon unmolested by police officers, and when an unlucky 
wight would pass under their ball, he or she was sure to 
be beaten by the whole crew, and that without stint. 
They had beaten one man so badly in the forenoon that 
he had to be taken to the hospital, and the games of 
drinking, playing, and beating were still going on in 
Spafford street at three o'clock in the afternoon, quite a 
number being beaten in a most brutal manner ; and all 
this time the police were on Sixth street electioneering, 
for it was within two or three weeks of the Mayor's elec- 
tion. At last I came in for my share of the fun on this 

336 sorrow's circuit. 

I saw a woman that they had beaten standing crying, 
and on stopping to . enquire who had beaten her, I was 
immediately surrounded by the whole rowdy gang. I 
asked them why they had whipped the woman, and they 
answered hy wldpping me. I was badly hurt, but man- 
aged to stay on the ground until I had the mob broken up, 
and several in prison. The officers were very energetic 
when they found I was hurt. There are none of them 
in office now. 

I was not able to fill my street appointment that af- 
ternoon or my pulpit at night ; but thank God, it's all 
over now ; I am well of my beating, and feel a satisfac- 
tion in the consciousness I have that I did the State 
some service by breaking up a mob, that, if let run on 
until night, might have cost much bloodshed before it 
was quelled. The fellows implicated afterward begged 
hard, and made fair promises, and so I let them off. 

As I said, I dare not use the law. If I did, either 
myself or our fine building, or perhaps both, would have 
to pay the penalty. We must be content therefore to 
use only the law of love, and where we cannot conquer 
our enemies with this, and secure our rigljts, we must be 
satisfied to do the best we can, and quietly suffer the 
rest, leaving God to avenge us in his own way, and in 
his own good time. 





Rags, ra-a-a-ags ! is tlie burthen of his song, as lie 
plods his way along the gutters, and up and down the 
lanes and alleys. See him ! What a Joseph's coat he 
wears ! Long since, that coat made its debut in very 
distinguished society. What a thrill of conscious supe- 
riority it sent through the breast of its first wearer ! 
Thanks to the tailor, in it he felt himself a man ! Then 
those fluttering, well-ventilated unmentionables ! But 
we won't mention them.* Boots ! boots in rebellion, like 
^sop's members of the body. The soles of those boots 
won't submit any longer to be trampled on, and have 
got twisted up, leaving the leg to do duty as a sole. 
Shirt he has none, quite a superfluity that ! With a 
bag on his back, and a stick in his hand, behold the 
man ! for he may be " a man for a' that." His bag is 
not a beggar's bag. Would you like to view its con- 
tents ? Rather be excused ? Well, we sha'n't insist. 

* Written by one of the Board of Managers. 

338 sorrow's circuit. 

But observe ! his keen eyes have spied game. IIow 
he does grub through yonder refuse heap, picking up 
the bits of paper, scraps of old rags, and bare bones ; 
for although the latter are of no further account to 
''Snap" or " Jowler," yet are they tit-bits to the rag- 
picker, and are carefully deposited in his bag. An old 
kettle without spout, bottom, or handle, does not come 
amiss to him ; he makes it more portable by flattening 
its sides with a few kicks, and into the bag it goes, puz- 
zling the beholder to know, "what he will do with it." 
Worthless wretch, do you say? Please to re-consider 
that hard speech. \Ye think he is far from worthless. 
He can neither read nor write, to be sure ; yet is he in- 
dispensable to literature. That mighty power, the press, 
would be like Sampson shorn of his locks, were all the 
ragpickers to turn beggars. Let us not, then, despise 
him for his calling. Could we .hope to get you inter- 
ested in him, we would ask you to go down Avith us to 
where he lives, and see him at home, for he is not alto- 
gether homeless, nor, we were going to say, houseless ; 
but we are not so sure that we ought to use that word. 
Just imagine a little court, twenty or thirty feet deep, 
by about three feet wide, opening out into Baker or 
Bedford streets, through an old doorway just sufficiently 
wide for the ingress or egress of one person. In this 
court you see a confused pile of old boards which, after 



some strong efforts of faith — for sight does not suffice to 
convince ycu — you believe are human habitations. Some 
of the tenements are vacant, and the old boards have 
fallen off the sides, leaving large holes, which, -with the 
open doorways — windows are too great a luxury — are 
very convenient as receptacles for ashes, and refuse mat- 
ters from the other hovels. Not unfrequently these dis- 
mal dens serve as the last asylum for poor wretches, 
who, having reached the lowest point of degradation and 
misery, after spending their last penny in buying rum, 
creep in among the ashes Sjud filth, and there die, in 
darkness and desolation. Winter tells a sad tale here ; 
the keen wind, passing freely through the old shanties, 
sings in its dismal song the requiem of many an unfortu- 
nate wretch, literally frozen to death. 

But it is summer now. Do you see that low roof 
covered with rags and bones, drying in the strong heat 
of the sun, and adding to the vile smells of the place ? 
Well, that is where our ragpicker lives. He brings the 
contents of his bag, wet and filthy rags, and putrefying 
bones, and spreads them out on the roof of his shanty to 
dry. Rather trying to the olfactories ! but the denizens 
of the court are not squeamish ; they like to be let alone, 
and the Board of Health lets them alone ! 

The inside of our ragpicker's house is in proper keeping 
with the outside ; the strong stifling fumes from the 

340 sorrow's circuit. 

glowing stove take you by the throat -when you attempt 
to enter, as there is neither top nor pipe to the stove, nor 
chimney to the shanty. The rubbish in the corner was 
once clean straw ; that is his bed ! And now the inven- 
tory of his chattels is complete. 

As we said that our ragpicker cannot read, you need 
not be surprised that he has no Bible. Would you be- 
lieve it, though? He has only lately heard of Jesus. No- 
body told him ! The preachers stayed in their churches, 
and he stayed in his hovel ; the preachers did not seek 
him, and as little did he seek them. Hence those ex- 
tremes never met. It was not that the preachers were 
unaware of his existence, for in their pulpit ministrations 
they often referred to him, thanking God, on behalf of 
their flocks, that in fixing tlieir lot in life he had dealt 
more favorably with them. 

The ragpicker was thus good for an effective contrast, 
which, however satisfactory it might be to the more for- 
tunate, was anything but consolatory to him ; he cannot 
appreciate that theology which Avould make of him 
merely "a thing to thank God upon." But my brother 
ragpicker, 'tis not so. God your Father has not dealt 
hardly with you, for " Jesus, by the grace of God, tasted 
death for every man.'' Sin, and sin alone, has wrought 
this upon you. No, my Christian brother, God has not 
dealt unfavorably towards him, but you have ; ay, you 


have. Your commission, What is it ? "Go ye into all 
the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature!" 
Have you p-eachcd it to him ? Have you ? He has lain 
at jour door for a long time, and you have never called 
in his ears, "Behold the Lamb of God." What think 
you ? At whose hands will his blood be required in that 
great day ? 

But he has lately heard of Jesus. The good news 
reached his ears, conveyed, it may be, in the simple words 
spoken by a lowly and humble disciple of Christ, or it 
may be he has stopped for a few minutes to listen to the 
street-preaching of the Missionary. At all events, the 
good seed has fallen in his heart, and will spring up and 
bear fruit. Let us not despise him, he is our brother. 
By and by our Father will take him home, and Jesus 
himself will give him fraternal greeting, as his elder 

For a little while longer he may pursue his lowly but 
honest calling, and plod his weary way, and sing his 
doleful song of rags, ra-a-a-a-gs, about the streets ; but 
by and by he'll tread the golden streets of the heavenly 
City, and a new song will be put in his mouth, "Worthy 
IS the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, 
and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and 
blessing. Amen." Hallelujah ! 




A VERY genteely dressed lady made the above remark 
to me one day in Baker street, with tears in her eyes. 
Her whole demeanor was that of a respectable, but 
spirit-crushed woman. Indeed she looked the picture 
of despair; hope seemed to have departed for the time, 
and there she stood ready to sink upon the street. And 
BO wonder, for her daughter, a young woman of about 
eighteen years of age, very comely in her figure and 
face, healthy looking, but beastly drunk and wild with 
excitement, was staggering around among a clan of 
drunken men and women, white and black, all mixed up 
together in social familiarity, and she the drunkest of 
the wretched party. 

The sight was heart-rending in the extreme. Just 
think of a young woman, clean, healthful, and good 
looking, roving round Baker street, the very worst spot 
of all this worst of places, on a regular spree like some 


old toper of fifty, on whom the soul-destroying habit has 
fastened itself so closely that it now seems impossible to 
shake it ofi". 

" Speak to that girl, she is my child !" Poor heart- 
broken mother ! how far from thy every tliouglit was the 
sad picture before thee when thou gavest birth to this 
beautiful child ! In thine own heart thou didst promise 
to thyself years of pleasure with this new gift from God, 
while on thy bosom it lay, looking up in sweetest inno- 
cence into thy face, crowing its little words of love, and 
sending the sweet music deep down into thine inmost 

How far, even from thy dreams, mother, was this sad 
picture, when that child of thine first stood before thee 
and with almost angelic sweetness pronounced that word 
that ever sends a thrill of pleasure through all the soul 
of the young wife— mother ! That word, that caused 
thy heart to beat more rapidly, and to swell unutterably 
full of matronly pride. That word, that made thee gaze 
with new delight upon the priceless jewel ; that caused 
thee to press it anew to thy bosom, and imprinting a 
kiss upon its dimpled cheek, bear it away to thy hus- 
band, and lay it in his arms with as much exulting 
as though it were untold wealth just acquired, or an 
empire's crown recently won after hard fought battles. 

'• Speak to that girl, she is my child." 

844 sorrow's circuit. 

" In her infancy I had fondly hoped that, when my 
head grew gray with cares and fleeting years, this child 
of mine would be my pride and comfort ; and when 
passing from earth away to the land of peace and joy to 
which her father has already gone, she would be there 
to fan my fevered brow, and smooth my pathway to the 
tomb ; and when the death-damp was gathering on my 
face, she would be near to wipe off death's token, and 
wake up my drowsy nature by whispering in my ear, 
now nearly deaf to earthly sounds, those sweet, soul-ani- 
mating words, 'Mother, Jesus is here.' 

" But look, sir, look there ! See ! see all my fond hopes 
buried alive in that loathsome being you now behold mad 
with dissipation. Look, sir ! 0, look, and pity me ! 
nay, pity us both, and help us for the love of God ; help 
me to save my child, who, though young in years, is old, 
very old, in sin. 

" sir ! if you have any heart of sympathy, look at 
the fearful precipice at the end of the broad way in 
which she is running. Yes she is running, and will soon 
get to her fearful end, the drunkard's doom. Oh, how 
can I endure it ? how can I bear this ? It will kill me, 
my aching heart will burst. Mr. Sewell ! help me to 
get my child away from this horrid place. She is young 
and might yet be saved." 

And while we were, in substance, thus conversing, the 


young woman came screaming, and staggering where we 
stood. Her eyes were red with the poison she had been 
drinking. She tried her best to get the clothing her 
mother had brought to put on her, so that she might go 
genteely clad through the streets, to her home which was 
located in a respectable part of the city. And she did 
get the clothes, and ran off with them to barter them 
aAvay for more whiskey. And that was the last I saw 
of either mother or daughter. The latter went to jail 
shortly after for drunkenness and disorderly conduct ; 
and the mother doubtless returned to her home to weep 
in silence and seclusion over her lost child. 

346 sorrow's circuit. 



We are battling away at the enemy of souls witli the 
"forlorn hope" of forty young men and fifty ladies of 
the M. E. Church, reinforced by a noble little band of 
volunteers from the Presbyterian, Lutheran, Episcopal, 
and Friends denominations. We are fighting in the very 
heart of this stronghold of sin and Satan, in which 
there may be found hundreds of rum-shops and thou- 
sands of drunkards — yes, thousands, concentrated within 
about nine squares. 

Added to these the army of second hand clothing- 
shops, who are aided and comforted by the pawnbroker, 
who jumps over his counter and stands behind the Law, 
while the drunken thief presents his booty to any 
amount, and gets it exchanged for money. Three balls 
hang on one corner, a rum sign on another, and old 
clothes on the third, while a distillery stands on the 
fourth corner of the same square. And so they go, up 


one side of the street and down the other. And thus 
you see their name is " Legion." 

I would like the census takers next year to be particu- 
lar and mark the above named establishments, and then 
mark their victims, ( yes, that's the word — '' You steal 
and we'll buy," says Mr. Pawnbroker; "And we'll fur- 
nish the liquor," says Mr. Wine and Liquor store, "and 
when we get rich enough we'll all retire from business, 
join the church, pay the parson, and then die in peace, 
while the thousands of our ruined victims are in jails, 
penitentiaries, almshouses, or lying about in dens of in- 
famy.") Yes, mark the victims, and let us know how 
many thousands of men, women, and children there are 
in this vicinity who are ruined, wretched, and starving. 

I know but little of the "Five Points" of New York; 
but after what I have seen in the vicinity of our Mission, 
during the last five years, I can scarcely conceive how 
that place can be worse than this. 

And here we are in these dirty streets, lanes, and al- 
leys, bringing in the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, 
and the blind. And oh ! how my heart swelled with joy- 
ous emotion, on the Sunday night previous to the writing 
of this, whilst I was commenting on the above commis- 
sion of my blessed Master to his disciples, in Parable, to 
see a man, who, though not old, was already much ad- 
dicted to drink, led to our altar by his two little yirls, nei- 


ther of whom was more than eight years old. And 
there the father kneeled between his children, they weep- 
ing bitterly on his account, and he weeping for himself 
because he was a sinner. Oh, what a sight ! 

I cannot close up this chapter without relating an inci- 
dent that will tend to remove the gloom that I may have 
been instrumental in bringing upon the mind of my 
reader. It is the history of a conversion extraordinary 
of a young man who had been trained in the school of 
vice. This young man lived with his parents, who kept 
several houses of the lowest character, in an alley noto- 
rious for its wickedness. No one having the least regard 
for character would live in this place. It seems to be 
Bet apart for the special habitation of women of aban- 
doned character and of thieves. And for the' last named 
personages there is a peculiar fitness of things, as to hid- 
ing or dividing the spoils, or procuring bail if unhappily 
caught in the act of stealing. All these arrangements 
work like a well made clock, and this alley may be truth- 
fully and emphatically called "a den for thieves." 

It was here we found the sick man living with his mo- 
ther, who was titled "queen of the alley," her subjects 
not being in subjection to either State or moral laws. 

Poor Harry ! as soon as I saw him I knew that death 
was near, and told him so. He said in reply, 


" I know it, and have sent for you to talk -witli me 
about my soul's salvation. I am not fit to die." 

Though I have but little faith in death-bed repentances, 
yet here was a special case. This youth had never 
heard his mother pray, though he had often heard her 
swear and curse when angry ; he had never in his life 
been in a Sabbath-school ; he had no one to take him by 
the hand and lead him to the house of God ; no one to 
pray for him or teach him to pray ; but he had constantly 
been surrounded by wicked associations and influences. 

To him therefore I went with the belief that he might 
be saved. And he also believed that salvation was yet 
within his reach ; and so believing, he continued in ear- 
nest prayer day after day for some two weeks. In the 
mean time we made frequent visits, reading the Bible, 
exhorting, encouraging, and praying with him, till at 
last, blessed be God for his unbounded mercy, I heard 
him say he had found peace in believing, and could now 
rejoice in a sense of the Divine favor. On Sunday even- 
ing he sent for me to be with him in his dying moments. 
As soon as I had finished my sermon, and persuaded a 
few persons to come to the altar to seek salvation, leav- 
ing my meeting in charge of a faithful brother, I hur- 
ried away to my dying friend, whom I found sinking 
rapidly. I questioned him as to his hope beyond the 
grave, and with firmness he answered, " I feel Christ 

350 sorrow's circuit. 

precious. I rest my all on him ; I believe he will take 
me to heaven." 

His tongue now grew thick, his sight failed, his limbs 
became frigid, and poor, unfortunately-born, Harry, left 
a home of luxury and vice for a purer (we trust) and 
more peaceful home in heaven, where there is no sin, 
and hence no sorrow or death. 

In preaching his funeral sermon on the "Wednesday 
following, I was surrounded by scores of women and 
men of the basest kind ; and oh ! how I prayed for words 
that would take eifect in some heart. ^Vhat good re- 
sulted from that sermon I have never learned ; but I 
know that fearful deaths happened to three of my audi- 
tors very soon afterward. 

A young man, a companion of the one that had just 
passed away, was smothered to death in a chimney while 
pursuing, with murderous purposes in his heart, a young 
woman who had deserted him for another. A young wo- 
man, a companion of this same man in vice, for some 
cause, unknown to all but God, drowned herself in the 
Delaware that same night. While a third, who lived next 
door to where Harry died, has since passed away in the 
most fearful manner, seeing, as he thought, all sorts of 
hobgoblins, &c. He died a rum maniac, screaming as he 
died. All attesting the truth of Holy Writ, that " the 
way of the transgressor is hard;" and all declaring in 


unmistakable terras that it is a fearful thins; to sin 
against God. 

Such, dear reader, is our field of labor ; and truly 
may it be said, " The harvest is great, but the laborers 
are few;" and I may add, these few are not sustained. 
Why this is so, I cannot divine. It is not because it is 
not an important point in the Gospel field. For vice, 
disease, poverty, ignorance, wretchedness, and death, 
abound on every hand, and call loudly for the soothing, 
hallowing, and saving influences of the Gospel. 

It is not for want of success. Forty-one souls in dying 
have testified to the saving power of Christ in their 
hearts, all of whom were brought to this testimony 
through the instrumentality of this Mission. 

Scores in our Mission-church, and scores in other 
churches are living witnesses of our success. Some of 
these are burning and shining lights. 

Our day and Sabbath-schools, numbering about two 
hundred and fifty children, drawn for the most part from 
the purlieus of vice, are of thrilling interest, and have 
been crowned with the most unlooked-for success. 

Why then are we not sustained ? Why have we al- 
ways been staggering under a burden ? Why have we 
to resort to all kinds of expedients to get a dollar a 
piece from 3,000 Methodists, out of the hundred thou- 

352 sorrow's circuit. 

sand members in the State of Pennsylvania, besides 
Delaware, parts of Maryland, and New Jersey ? 

Last year we received about 1,600 dollars from the 
Methodist church, and 900 dollars from the Friends, or 
Quakers, and about 400 dollars from persons that do 
not belona; to anv church. 

Brethren of the Methodist church, owned of God and 
blessed above all others, will you let this burden crush 

Will you not with a generous liberality send us the 
means by which we may be enabled to give bread to the 
hungry, and clothing to the naked, and the Gospel to the 
poor and degraded that are found in almost countless 
numbers in garret and cellar, in court and alley, through- 
out this sin-cursed district ? 

And lest my personal plea for a liberal support might 
be suspected, or be thought to have something of selfish- 
ness in it, I will ask you to read the following communi- 
cation of the Rev. J. R. Adams, lately published in the 
Christian Advocate and Journal. He says, 

"Mr. Editor, — It was with a mingled interest of pain 
and pleasure that I read in the last week's Advocate, 
Brother Sewell's article in reference to the condition of 
the Bedford Street Mission — the "Five Points" of Phila- 
delphia. No Christian nor philanthropist, acquainted 
with the moral and social condition of that locality, can 


fail to feel an interest in the permanent existence and 
most extensive success of the Bedford Street Mission. 
It was mj privilege, a few months since, to be present 
during a session of the 'Mission Sunday-school;' and 
as I looked upon the neat inner walls of the but recently- 
erected Mission-house, the band of noble, self-denying 
young men and women engaged in efforts to impart reli- 
gious instruction to the children then present — children 
gathered from the hovels and sinks of poverty, vice, and 
misery, of which the immediate locality is so largely 
composed ; the fountains of my sympathies were broken 
up, and I could but invoke heaven's blessing in the most 
grand success of the noble enterprise. 

"I regret to hear that the Mission is pecuniarily embar- 
rassed. This ought not to be. The work in which it is 
engaged is so sacred, so fraught with immortal interests, 
it ought not to suffer for want of means. 

" And to propose a plan for the immediate removal of 
this painful embarrassment, and to supply its exhausted 
treasury, even to repletion, has prompted this communi- 
cation. It can be done. It can he done. And what will 
then be done ? Let each reader of the Advocate say, 
What ? Let each reflect upon the glorious results of 
such assistance to that Mission: and then say if you 
cannot answer in the afl5rmative this question : 

" Will you not assist to the amount of one dollar ? 

354 sorrow's circuit. 

My plan is, that each reader of the Advocate immedi- 
ately send at least one dollar to the address of Brother 
Sewell, the Missionary. Just let each reader resolve to 
do it, and then all will do it, and it will be done ; so here 
goes my dollar right to Brother Sewell. And may the 
great Source of all good abundantly bless the Bedford 
Street Mission." 
Fhilipsburg, N. J. 




In the former part of my book I have given brief and 
roughly-drawn sketches of our Mission field and of 
scenes and incidents that came principally under my own 
observation. I now wish, in conclusion, to present in as ^ 
concise a form as possible the " past and the present" of 
our Mission, as seen by others rather than by myself. 

And first, I shall ask you to read a description of the 
field we occupy, as furnished by one of the intelligent / 
reporters of the "North American and United States 
Gazette," after a personal inspection, and published in 
that paper in August of the present year, 1859. lie 
heads his article " The Five Points of Philadelphia," and 
proceeds to say : 

" If ever we longed for the inspiration which waits 
upon the pen of Dickens — and we have done so many 
times — it was yesterday morning, when, under the guid- 
ance of officer Anne, we made a tour through that part 

356 sorrow's circuit. 

of Philadelphia Tfhich unfortunately corresponds but too 
closely with the Five Points in New York. We refer to 
the locality of Bedford, Spafford, and Baker streets, be- 
tween Sixth and Eighth streets, with the network of 
courts and alleys that branch off from these streets at 
almost every step. 

"A few doors from the corner of Seventh and Bedford 
streets we made our first pause. The very atmosphere 
of this locality gives a foretaste of Avhat afterwards greets 
the eye of the visitor. The building in question is a 
groggery, where whiskey is sold at a cent a " drink," 
and at six cents a pint. About its portals, clustered in 
lazy attitudes, were a dozen or more of people, black and 
white, male and female. At the first glance our eye Avas 
met by a spectacle that more than repaid us for the trou- 
ble of our visit. A bin for holding coal, which is retailed 
by the half-peck to the people of the neighborhood, oc- 
cupies a place in front of the door. Upon it sat three 
colored men, one of whom is a character that Dickens 
would have immortalized. There he sat, basking in the 
sun, clad in a suit of faded black, with a white felt cas- 
tor surmounting his poll. Thousands of people have 
paid a quarter-dollar each for the privilege of staring at 
him, yet, though now neglected, he is as great a curiosity 
to-day as he ever was. This singular personage is a co- 
lored man. His age is ninety-two years. What renders 


him especially remarkable is, that many parts of his 
body are a imre wJdte. His forehead, which is high and 
bald, parts of his face, and his entire neck, are bleached 
as white, gentle reader, as your own, no matter how fair 
may be your skin. Ruling out the exception of some 
spots upon his hands and face, he is literally a white ne- 
gro. The upper part of his body is also white. His 
lower limbs are black as jet, while his beard and hair are 
white and fleecy as merino wool. He is a native of 
Westchester, and was born at a time when all the co- 
lored people in the state were slaves. His parents were 
the property of Mr. John Brinton, at whose death he 
passed into the possession of a brother, named Joseph 
Brinton. He lived as the slave of the latter until slavery 
was abolished. We tested his recollections of the war 
of the Revolution, and found them historically accurate. 
"Washington he remembers very well, and also Lafay- 
ette. The former he describes as a 'very nice man, 
that looked like a Methodist preacher.' ^ Until he once 
heard him swear, our colored friend informed us he had 
taken Washington for a military chaplain—' he looked 
so solemn like.' 

" Shortly after gaining his freedom, our colored friend 
found, to his dismay— for he prided himself upon undi- 
luted Congo origin— that parts of his body were turning 
white — a transformation that continued to increase until 

* I hope for the honor of Washington this is incorrect. 


he suddenly found himself famous, and scores of people 
came to see him from all quarters. His fame as a lusus 
oiaturos ultimately reached the ears of a showman, who 
went from New York to see him, and after some nego- 
tiation engaged him to travel with him. As a great 
natural curiosity which puzzled the heads of the medical 
world, our ' spotty' friend made the tour of the United 
States, and was everywhere pronounced a piebald pheno- 
menon. He lived while he lived, and having laid by 
little or nothing for a rainy day, lives now as he best 
can. Should any of our readers for a moment fancy 
that a particle of exaggeration is blended in this narra- 
tive, they need only go to the above named locality, and 
ask for 'Mr. Curtis,' to verify our statement. 

" Reluctantly cutting short the anecdotes of 'the times 
that tried men's souls,' as given by our voluble friend, 
we passed to an establishment across the street, that 
evidently made some pretensions as to style. We ar- 
rived at an opportune period. The house is a hotel, on 
a small scale. It contains ten rooms, cellar included, 
whose average dimensions are eight by ten feet. The 
cellar is rented to an organ grinder, who, with his 
family, eat, sleej^, and live in this subterranean apart- 
ment. The floor is simply the earth trodden into soli- 
dity, while the furniture comprised a three legged table, 
two chairs, and a bundle of straw in one corner, upon 


"wliich the man, his wife, two children, and an old woman 
all slept. 

" The room above the cellar is a Restaurant. We ar- 
rived just in time to see the purveyors returning from 
' market.' The purveyors aforesaid were four little girls, 
who deposited tolerably well-filled baskets upon the 
boards that constituted the counter. The viands are 
begged from door to door, and given by tender-hearted 
servant girls, who suppose them to be intended for the 
suffering parents of the children. 

" Bless the innocence of some good people ! The con- 
tents of these baskets are devoted to a very different pur- 
pose. The bones having meat upon them are sorted out, 
pieces of bread ditto, upon different plates, which are sold 
to customers at from three to six cents each, while the 
bones and inseparable masses of ' cold victuals' are 
jumbled together in a tin boiler, and converted into 
soup, which is sold at three cents a bowl. 

" Rooms overhead are rented to families and transient 
guests, eight cents a night being the price per room, or 
three cents for a single person. The sleeping accommo- 
dations, in the latter instance, consist of a piece of car- 
pet laid over some straw ; in the former case, persons 
are expected to ' furnish' for themselves. The passport 
to these accommodations is the three or eight cents. No 
' references' are required, nor a candle held to the faces 

860 sorrow's circuit. 

of applicants to ascertain their color o^ nationality. 
The swarming occupants of the house are about evenly 
divided into black and white, and nearly all of them are 
in the ' rag and bone business.' 

" The next place we entered was also crammed with 
human beings. The proprietor is a German. His house 
comprises seven rooms, and boasts a side yard. We en- 
tered the yard first. It contained a cart, with a wind- 
lass in front of it, by which to raise dead horses and 
cattle. The proprietor is in the employ of the party 
having the contract for removing offal. His house is 
also filled with families, who pay for single rooms from 
sixty to seventy-five cents per week, according to loca- 

" A door or two from this we found another building, 
in which we beheld scenes to make one's heart heavy for 
a week to come. We descended the cellar from a flight 
of steps outside. The only furniture it contained was a 
table, two broken chairs, and a clay furnace. Upon a 
scanty mattrass, made from an old carpet stuffed with 
straw, lay a young widow woman, with a baby two days 
old, while creeping about the floor were three others, 
nearly as helpless. The mother of the woman informed 
us that her daughter was a widow, that she herself had 
been living as a domestic in Kingsessing, and coming 
down on a visit had found her daughter in a condition 


that rendered impossible her immediate return. A bro- 
ther of the sick woman lay asleep upon the floor, with 
no bedding underneath, and no pillow but one of the 
steps of the stairs which he had placed at an angle 
against the wall. Like the others whom we had seen, 
except a few Germans, the parties were all Irish people. 
For this cellar they paid seventy-five cents per week, the 
entire building being rented originally by one person for 
about seven dollars per month, and re-rented at these 
exorbitant prices to God-stricken wretches, unable to 
better their deplorable circumstances. 

" Passing by the swarming rooms of this dwelling, all ' 
of which are so contrived as to have separate entrances, 
we found a pen in the back building, occupied by a sin- 
gular couple, a Hungarian, who came over with Kos- 
suth, and a black woman whom he has since married. 
A farmer's hog would have squealed dismally if forced 
to enter the pen in which these wretches live ; yet, on 
the whole they seemed to think themselves tolerably 
well off, except that, having a sore foot, the man could 
not pursue his avocation of bone gathering in the 

"As nearly the whole of Bedford street is thus occu- 
pied, and a description of one house is a description of 
all, our trusty guide conducted us into Spafford street. 
The first crib into which we entered was a tavern, over 

3G2 sorrow's circuit. 

whose door was ■ inscribed ' Shady Harbor, by Owen 
Clark.' Owen is now in prison, but his wife manages 
diligently in his absence. A liberal application of white- 
wash, lately enforced by the Board of Health, has con- 
siderably neutralized the foul odors of the place, but 
the scent of whiskey, which appears to have fairly sa- 
turated the woodwork, is beyond all the efficacy of lime 
to eradicate. About the door of the place we found 
several blear-eyed women, some of whom had once per- 
haps possessed pretensions to beauty, but whose blotched 
and bloated countenances showed them the victims of in- 
temperance, exposure, and disease. With a shudder, 
we passed into the yard, and looking over the partition 
fence, beheld a pile of old boots and shoes, collected in 
the streets by ragpickers, which are purchased by manu- 
facturers of glue. On the other side we saw a kitchen 
shed, in which lay six fatted pigs, while a lot of lean 
ones, not yet destined for slaughter, were squealing out- 
side for a share of the meal which their doomed bre- 
thren were discussing from a triangular trough. Adjoin- 
ing this piggery is the cellar in Avhich lived Mary Smith, 
the woman who was found dead, with her head bruised, 
on last Sunday se'nnight, by the patrol of the beat. 

" Ivory place, in Baker, below Seventh street, is ano- 
ther locality where no man, who values his life, may 
enter with impunity, unless accompanied by a police- 


man. Under the care of officer Frederick Anne, we 
entered its pestiferous atmosphere, but what we saw 
there our pen refuses to record. Suffice it to say that 
pJdlanthropists need not look to foreign countries for a 
field in which to exercise their benevolence. Neither need 
any one look to the southern plantations for cases of mis- 
ery among colored people. Nothing of which we ever 
read in the multiplicity of volumes that followed the 
publication of Mr?. Stowe's excellent work, portrays 
misery so acute and so revolting as can be exhibited 
every day in the neighborhood above indicated, by our 
intelligent officer Frederick Anne. The Young 3Iens 
Central Rome Mission have established a house of wor- 
ship in the very heart of this infected district, and are 
diligently sowing good seed among its inhabitants ; but 
to remove the leprosy which affects the entire region, 
will require vast efforts and a degree of patience which 
can be inspired only by the influences of pure Chris- 

And this was written, mark you, in the year of our 
Lord 1859, after six years' earnest labor on the part of 
the "Young Men's Central Home Mission," throucrh 
whose instrumentality much good has confessedly been 
accomplished. You may well ask, therefore, if such is 
the present condition of Bedford street and its vicinity, 
notwithstanding all that has been done to improve, it, 

364 sorrow's circuit. 

what must have been its condition when first occupied by 
our Mission in 1853 ? and what reasonable hope can be 
entertained that this Augean stable, this centre of iniqui- 
ty, this sink of pollution, will ever be renovated, or its in- 
habitants elevated and saved ? 

In the sight of man, the task undertaken by the pa- 
trons of the "Bedford Street Mission" seems not merely 
Herculean, but utterly impossible. But what man in Ms 
weahiess regards as impossible, God in his omnipotence 
can easily accomplish. And hence relying upon the 
Omnipotence of grace, promised us in Christ Jesus, this 
almost hopeless task has been undertaken and prosecuted 
until the present. 

With what success the eifort has thus far been crowned, 
I leave you to judge from the following ably-written re- 
ports of the Board of Managers. 

In the first of these reports, which was published in 
the spring of 1854, we have a most interesting account 
of the early history of the Mission, and hence we give 
it entire, believing that nothing that we could write 
would so fully exhibit to the view of the reader " tJie 
Past" in relation to this Mission as this report. It is as 
follows : 

"The Youxg Men's Central Home Mission, in pre- 
senting their First Annual Report, would express their 
unfeigned gratitude to the Great Head of the Church for 


the signal success that has crowned their feeble efforts, 
and the encouragement afforded them not only to continue 
their efforts, but to renew their diligence in their ' work 
of faith and labor of love.' 

" As our society is new, and almost unknown to the 
public generally — scarcely a year having elapsed since 
its first organization — we deem it expedient to say a few 
words in reference to its origin. 

"In the early part of last spring, several young men 
connected with the different Methodist Episcopal churches 
in our city, having the love of God in their hearts, which 
always prompts to the performance of every good word 
and work, beheld, with paiiful solicitude, an extensive 
class of the community in their very midst, to a great ex- 
tent, owing to their peculiar condition, shut out from the 
light of the Gospel, and sunken to the lowest depths 
of moral degradation and wretchedness — presenting a 
picture, the dark shades of which made an impression 
upon their minds never to be erased — and led to the con- 
clusion that something must be done, and done at once, 
to elevate them from their degraded condition, by afford- 
ing them in every possible way, to the utmost of their 
ability, both physical, moral, and religious aid. Accord- 
ingly, a meeting was called of individuals favorable to 
the object, and a society organized to be denominated 

366 sorrow's circuit. 

* The Young Men's Central Home Mission,' of the city 
and county of Philadelphia. 

" At a subsequent meeting, a Board of Managers and 
Oflficers Tvere elected, a Constitution and By-Laws 
adopted, and the society entered upon its truly philan- 
thropic and Christian work. 

"As may be supposed, the Board of Managers, in 
many of their plans, were at a loss to know the best 
course to be pursued, until developed by experience ; 
hence, many alterations in their Constitution have, from 
time to time, been made during the year ; the necessity 
of which they could not at first foresee. By one of 
these alterations they have become directly connected 
with the Methodist Episcopal church. 

"It was decided that their principal field of labor 
should be in that district embracing Baker, Bedford, 
Spafford, and St. Mary's streets, with their vicinities ; 
concluding that no greater amount of degradation and 
misery could be found in our city or districts. They saw 
the necessity of employing a Missionary who could de- 
vote his whole time and energies to the work. Finding 
the Rev. John Henry, of the Philadelphia Annual Con- 
ference, out of employment, they at once engaged his 
services until the conclusion of the conference year. 

" A preaching place was established in Bedford street, 
another in Baker street ; and preaching continued morn- 


ing and afternoon, with very few exceptions, until the 
cokl weather compelled us to abandon our post, and re- 
tire to a room fitted up for the purpose. 

" Our general plan of proceeding in our out-door op- 
erations has been as follows : — 

" The preacher would take his stand on the side-walk, 
or on a chair, and commence singing a hymn, attended 
by one or more members of the Board, who would assist 
in this important part of the exercises. Soon the con- 
gregation would gather around the preacher, or present 
themselves at the windows, doors, and surrounding al- 
leys. After singing he would engage in prayer ; then 
sing again ; after which he would commence his discourse 
to the people. 

" The character and appearance of the congregation, 
especially in Baker street, beggars all description. We 
have frequently seen eight or ten at a time, male and fe- 
male, either reeling under the influence of ardent spirits, 
or completely overcome, and lying prostrate within a few 
yards of the preacher ; while others were fighting, brawl- 
ing, or swearing, presenting altogether a scene such as 
might cause devils to triumph, but upon which the 
Christian philanthropist could not look but to weep, and 
to inquire. Can any thing be done to alleviate the condi- 
tion of this wretched, this degraded portion of the com- 
munity ? 

368 ' sorrow's circuit. 

" Some, however, are attentive. Frequently they have 
been seen to weep — been deeply affected under the word, 
and have inquired, ' What must I do to be saved ?' And 
several instances have come to our knowledge during the 
year, of individuals who have given good evidence of* 
their sound conversion to God. 

" On one occasion the preacher, in Baker street, ob- 
served two females standing before him, whose appear- 
ance indicated that they had long been familiar witli a 
course of iniquity, but who were evidently not void of 
feeling, as was manifested by their strict attention to 
the Word of Life, and their occasional efforts to wipe 
away the falling tear, as the truth under the Spirit's in- 
fluence reached their hearts. 

"After the exercises were closed one of them ad- 
dressed the preacher in the following language : ' Sir, 
we are sisters, [pointing to the female beside her,] and 
we were members of the St. John's M. E. Church ; we 
have long since backslidden from God, and have for- 
saken the path of virtue : all that you have said is true; 
we know it — we feel it — we would reform, but what can 
we do in such a place as this ?' 

" In the commencement of our efforts, we experienced 
much opposition. This opposition was manifested prin- 
cipally by the Catholics, or through their influence. 
They were determined to drive us from Baker street al- 


together. Frequently stones and other missiles were 
hurled at the preacher, or those who were with him, but 
no one was injured except on one occasion, when a heavy 
stone, aimed at the preacher, striking against the house, 
fell upon the head of a little girl, who was borne away 
insensible, having a severe wound inflicted, from which, 
however, she finally recovered after weeks of suffering. 
This persecution was carried to such a length that our 
lives were in danger whenever we appeared in Baker 
street, which induced the Board to apply to the Marshal 
of Police for protection, which was promptly attended 
to- After this we had but little trouble from this 

" A few months evidently produced a great change in 
the views and feelings of the people in Baker and Bed- 
ford streets. The conciliating language and kind feel- 
ing manifested towards them evidently had a softening 
influence, breaking down almost entirely their opposi- 
tion, convincing them that our sole object was to do them 
good ; so that before we closed our out-door operations, 
in the fall, we felt no need whatever of the protection 
of a police force. We felt perfectly safe — no one appa- 
rently wishing to do us harm. 

" We had also preaching regularly on the wharf, foot 
of Walnut street, until the cold weather compelled us to 


desist. Our afternoon congregation at this appointment 
was generally large and attentive. 

" We were greatly accommodated by the kindness of 
Llessrs. Loper and Baird, who allowed us to hold our 
meetings on the decks of their barges, which afforded 
ample room for a large congregation. 

" In addition to the above, we had a preaching place, 
which was continued during the warm weather, on the 
commons, near Gray's Ferry Road, below South street. 
This has been a most interesting field of labor ; the con- 
gregation has been invariably large and attentive. 

" When we could no longer labor in the open air, we 
concluded to curtail our operations during the winter, 
confining our efforts principally to the Mission Room in 
Bedford street. In this place we have had preaching 
regularly, morning, afternoon, and evening, with but 
few exceptions, during the winter. We also held a Pro- 
tracted meeting, night after night, for several weeks, 
which, we think, was productive of much good. Many 
interesting scenes have been witnessed in this place. 
Here the hardened sinner has been seen to tremble under 
the power of Gospel Truth. Here the penitent has been 
heard to cry for mercy, and here the language of praise has 
been uttered under a sense of sins forgiven. Here the 
saints of God have labored, and wept, and rejoiced toge- 
ther, as they have presented the penitent at the foot of 



the cross ; as tliey have implored Divine mercy in his 
hehalf, or as they have heard the shout of rejoicing as 
he has emerged from ' darkness to light, and from the 
power of sin and Satan unto God.' 

" The Mission-room is contracted in its dimensions, 
inconvenient in its arrangements, and altogether unsuita- 
hle for our purpose ; hut we will not despise the ' day 
of small things.' The scenes here beheld have rendered 
it dear to many members of the Board. 

" The Sabbath-school at this place was organized last 
fall. At the commencement we had thirteen scholars ; 
the number has gradually increased, until now we have 
fifty, who are generally regular in their attendance. 

"We have heretofore labored under great disadvant- 
ages, by not having a suitable room for the accommoda- 
tion of the colored children, who are very numerous in Bed- 
ford street and vicinities. This difficulty is now obviated. 
We have rented a room at the corner of Bedford and 
Spafford streets. This place has long been known as 
one of the lowest groggeries that infest this neighbor- 
hood. We have here organized a school for colored 


« Instead of the streams of liquid poison, there are 
now flowing in this place the streams of salvation. In- 
stead of drunkenness and profanity, the voice of prayer 

372 sorrow's circuit. 

and praise is now heard. Where is the individual that 
can witness such a change and such a scene unmoved ? 

■ " We have also opened a school at No. 25 South 
street, near our preaching appointment on Gray's Ferry 
Road. It is well attended and in a flourishing condi- 
tion. The Sabbath-school department we conceive to be 
of vital importance. While it is almost a hopeless task 
to attempt the reformation of those who have long been 
addicted to a course of vice, as we have learned by sad 
experience, with the children it is far otherwise. We 
find them ardently attached to their teachers, listening 
attentively to their instructions. Having secured their 
confidence by love and afiection, the way is open for im- 
parting moral and religious truths ; the incalculable 
benefits of which, the annals of eternity only can dis- 

" Although we have labored under many disadvan- 
tages, yet the good efi"ects of the Sabbath-school are 
clearly seen. At first it seemed impossible to bring the 
children under any restraint: one might be almost ready 
to conclude they had never known the benefits of civili- 
zation. The teachers soon found, however, that among 
this rough material there were to be found bright gems. 
They discovered that all that was wanting, was care and 
attention on their part, and under the Divine blessing, 
they might look for results the most glorious. Their 


feelings of discouragement gave way to those of deep in- 
terest and pleasing anticipation. 

" Many of the children were sadly deficient in cloth- 
inff ; but through the kind aid of the friends of our Mis- 
sion, we have been enabled to clothe them comfortably, 
thus preventing much suffering. 

" The Dorcas Societies of Union, Trinity, and Eighth 
street M. E. Churches have made us liberal donations 
of clothing; also several benevolent individuals have 
greatly assisted us, whereby we have been enabled with- 
in the past six months to distribute more than five hun- 
dred garments : for which they have our sincere thanks 
and our earnest prayers that the Divine blessing may 
rest upon them. 

" As has before been observed, we have labored under 
serious disadvantages for the want of suitable rooms ; 
and it appears absolutely necessary that we should pur- 
chase a lot of ground and erect a suitable building, so 
that we may have ample room for holding our meetings, 
accommodating the Sabbath-school, &c. We have had a 
Committee upon the look-out for several months past, to 
procure a lot for the above purpose. Several have been 
presented, but a clear title could not be obtained ; wo 
have within a few Aveeks, however, been successful in 
finding a property every way suited to our purpose, with 
the title indisputable. The purchase has been made, and 

374 sorrow's circuit. 

the property is now in our hands. It is situated on the 
north side of Bedford street, above Spaflford street, 
nearly opposite our Mission-room. It is twenty-six feet 
front by sixty feet deep ; we have a prospect of procur- 
ing the adjoining lot, which will give us a front of thirty- 
nine feet. We now feel as if a new era had dawned 
upon our Mission. We contemplate erecting a suitable 
building without delay, when many of the difficulties we 
have heretofore had to contend with will be overcome. 
Here will be a Bethel in the very centre of this infected 
district, this scene of moral corruption, degradation, and 
death. Here the Gospel Banner will be unfurled, and 
here the messenger of salvation will present this glori- 
ous Gospel truth, that ' Christ Jesus, the Lord, came 
into the world to save sinners,' even the most erring, 
the most abandoned. From this central point the tide 
of salvation will flow out, until this moral waste, this 
region of the shadow of death, shall feel the influence 
of its healing streams, until the incense of prayer shall 
ascend where now profanity is heard ; and the songs of 
praise reverberate through every street and alley of this 
neighborhood, where now drunkenness, revelry, and ob- 
scenity, every where salute the ear ; in a word, until 
the Son of God shall exert an influence that shall 
change the entii'e aspect of things, raising up those that 
are fallen, bringing back those that have erred from the 


path of virtue, checking the rapid tide of intemperance, 
which is now rushing on as a torrent of death, and pro- 
ducing an incalculable amount of distress and anguish, 
while its victims, by scores and by hundreds, are hur- 
ried onwards to the vortex of eternal ruin. The ladies, 
who are always ready for every good word and work, 
have rendered us very efficient service. Hearing of our 
operations, they felt deeply interested and desirous to 
aid us in our plans and pursuits ; but more than this, 
they carried out those desires. Many present recollect 
the interesting evening's entertainment afforded them on 
the night of the festival, gotten up and conducted en- 
tirely by our early and firm friends, the ladies : the en- 
tire proceeds of which, amounting to seven hundred dol- 
lars, were placed at our disposal : this amount has been 
invested, and is to be appropriated towards erecting our 
Mission-house in Bedford street. May the blessing of 
those who are ready to perish rest upon them. 

" They have, within a few weeks, formed themselves 
into a society, adopted a Constitution and By-Laws, and 
become auxiliary to the Young Men's Central Home 
Missionary Society. 

" From their co-operation our Mission, will no doubt, 
receive substantial benefit. There is a department of 
our work which could not be intrusted to better hands. 
(Indeed we know not how we could do without their 

376 sorrow's circuit. 

aid.) We allude to the distribution of clothing among 
the destitute. By their well-arranged plan of operations 
this will be attended to effectually ; as well as every 
thing else they may undertake. 

" In conclusion, we would observe that notwithstand- 
ing the past year has been to us a year of labor and 
anxiety, and although we have met with many discourag- 
ing circumstances, yet we have witnessed much calculated 
to encourage us in our work, and urge us to increased 
diligence. We feel as if we had cause to be greatly 
humbled in view of the little we have done, in 
comparison to what we might have done. May the 
time past suffice wherein we have done amiss ; may the 
future witness that we are 'in labors more abundant,' 
* provoking each other to love and good works ;' and 
may the field of labor of the Young Men's Central Home 
Mission be no longer a moral waste, but become as the 
' Garden of the Lord.' " 

The contemplated Mission-house was commenced dur- 
ing the summer of 1856, at as early a period as practi- 
cable ; and the corner stone was laid on the afternoon of 
the fourth of September. Of this most interesting event 
iu the history of our Mission, the following notice ap- 
peared in the Christian Advocate and Journal : 

" The beginning of the end is now fairly begun. On 
last Thursday, September 4th, we laid the corner stone 


of our Mission-house. We had a most interesting meet- 
ing ; the services Avere commenced with prayer by Rev. 
M. D. Kurtz, followed by Rev. Dr. Hodgson, and Rev. 
John Chambers, and Rev. Andrew Manship, in addresses 
to the people, who gave us five hundred and twenty-eight 
dollars toward the erection of the building. After the 
collection, the Rev. Wesley Kenney made a powerful sum- 
ming up, and then did the honor, hammer in hand, of 
laying the corner stone. Benediction by Rev. G. Dixon 
Bowen. Such a sight was never witnessed in Bedford 
street before, and many a poorly-clad female might have 
been noticed manifesting a deep interest in the success 
of our undertaking, and for good reasons ; they have 
husbands, and sons, and daughters that they feel anxious 
for. These threw in all they could, praying for us as 
they put the money on the plate. 

"The building is to be three stories : first floor for of- 
fice, class, and Dorcas society -rooms ; second floor for 
the church and Sabbath-school ; and the third floor for 
the day-school ; the whole to cost six thousand dollars, 
independent of the ground, for which we paid two thou- 
sand dollars." 

The following interesting account of this same import- 
ant event appeared in the "Evening Journal" of this 
city on the following morning : 

" Laying of a Corner Stone. — A large number of 

378 sorrow's circuit. 

persons assembled, yesterday afternoon, in Bedford 
street, above Sixth, to witness the ceremonies connected 
with the laying of the corner stone of the new building 
intended for the use of the Young Men's Central Home 
Mission, The joists of the first floor have been laid, 
and to accommodate those who felt an interest in this in- 
stitution, a temporary floor was laid and seats placed 
thereupon for them. The exercises consisted of singing, 
prayer, and addresses, by the Rev. Dr. Hodgson, Rev. 
Mr. Chambers, Rev. Mr. A. Manship, Rev. W. Kenney, 
and others ; and a collection was taken up to aid in the 
construction of the building. The tin box placed in the 
corner stone contained a copy of the Bible, Act of In- 
corporation, names of officers, contributors, teachers of 
schools, religious and all the daily papers of this city, 
gold and silver coin, &c. 

"The Mission was established in May, 1853, by a 
number of young men connected with the M. E. Church, 
and a small frame house in Bedford street was rented by 
them for the use of schools attached to the Mission. 
Notwithstanding the degraded character of many of the 
inhabitants in this immediate section, the Mission flour- 
ished beyond the most sanguine expectations of its 
founders, and now a new building is necessary to accom- 
modate the numbers flocking to the Mission. 

" The building to be erected will have a front of 26 



feet and a depth of 53 feet, and -will be three stories high. 
The first floor will be devoted to the use of the Mission- 
aries and officers ; the second story for public preaching and 
Sabbath-school for white children ; the third story for 
the uses of a day-school. At present, one hundred and 
thirty children attend the day-school, and one hundred 
and fifty white children the Sabbath-school, and about 
sixty colored in another building. Much good has al- 
ready been efiected by the Mission, and with a new and 
enlarged building, and new friends, much more will no 
doubt be accomplished. The collection taken up on the 
ground amounted to ^528." 

The house thus auspiciously commenced was com- 
pleted the following winter, and on the fourteenth day 
of February, A. D. 1857, was dedicated to the worship 
of Almighty God by the Rev. Bishop Scott. 

The following description of the building, and notice 
of the dedicatory services, furnished at the time for 
the Christian Advocate and Journal, will, I doubt not, 
be acceptable to the reader : — 

" Mr. Editor : — We told your readers last Septem- 
ber that the 'beginning of the end had fairly begun ;' 
now we can say the end is come. Our Mission building 
in Bedford street is now finished throughout, and dedi- 
cated to the worship of Almighty God, and also to teach- 
ing the children of the poor the great lesson of Christ ; 

380 sorrow's circuit. 

for which purpose we have accommodations for two hun- 
dred, and a splendid room for our day-school, which 
numbers about one hundred and sixty. Our building is 
a model for its purpose ; the church is a pattern of neat- 
ness and arrangement. Mr. Wm. Brown, member of 
Wharton street Church, was the builder ; the whole cost, 
including the lot, was $8,000. 

" Bishop Scott performed the dedicatory services in 
his usual happy manner. The sermon was from the 
text, ' Let them make me a sanctuary that I may dwell 
among them.' He argued that the providing a sanctuary 
for the Lord was a condition required at the hands of 
the people, and that no neighborhood could be blessed 
without it. 

" He Avas assisted in the services by our excellent 
presiding elder, Wm. Cooper. 

" In conclusion the bishop made an appeal to his hear- 
ers for aid in extinguishing the debt that remained un- 
paid, and in a very short time the entire sum ($2,300) 
was made up, from an audience less than two hundred. 
Glory to God, and thanks to the people. Our noble 
edifice is now free from debt. It was a glorious day 
in the history of our Mission, not yet four years old. 
Our young Methodists, men and women, who are labor- 
ing in this work, felt like praising God, and they did 
it, too, in right good earnest when it was announced 


that the money was raised; and the people outside, 
■who live in their miserable sheds all around us, were 
ready to cry out, Amen. For (say they) now we have 
the Gospel permanently established in our midst. We had 
thought that 'no man cared for our souls,' that we were 
only loafers, and therefore had no right to the sympathy 
of our more fortunate and less erring brethren of Adam's 
race, and what we had no right to they send us as a 
gift. God bless them, we hear in cellar, in the sheds, 
and in the garret ; God bless them, is sounded up and 
down these streets, and we send back into their wretched 
homes a response, God bless you." 

Of this beautiful and commodious building the editor 
of the " Evening Journal" thus speaks : 

" 'Lux IN Tenebris.' a light-house in a dark re- 
gion of our city is the Bedford Street Mission House. 
As you pass down Sixth street, look up the first street 
below South street, and you will see the banner of 
strong canvas, suspended by ropes from opposite chim- 
neys—' Young Men's Central Home Mission op the 
M. E. Church.' Central indeed it is ! Here, as in 
New York, our deepest heathenism is found— not in the 
outskirts of the city, but in its very heart. That dismal 
quarter below Pine street, with its collection of frame 
tenements, of all shapes, and proportions, and hues, is 
within a stone's throw of the residences of wealthy citi- 

382 sorrow's circuit. 

zens, and ■within a short walk of our business center. 
A remarkable fact in the real-estate view of the matter ; 
but this is not our present point of view. 

" This Bedford Street Mission hangs out its banner 
as a denominational enterprise. Many will think this is 
the wisest course. For other minds, Union efforts have 
a charm. Certainly there is a freedom, and a force, 
and life in the action of men who are of the same reli- 
gious connection, which does not belong to a Union or- 
ganization. In the latter there may be delightftil mani- 
festations of charity, and a noble supremacy of regard 
for the great essentials in which all agree ; but there 
will be something of restraint, timidity, hesitation, and 
a kind of cautiousness which gives the appearance of 
feebleness. There are advantages on both sides. 

" In the midst of the dingy frames stands the good brick 
edifice of the M. E. Mission. It has the oflSce of the 
Association on the first floor, the chapel on the second, 
and the school-room on the third. In the latter is held 
the week-day school. It is a fine, light, airy room, well 
fitted up, and in every way inviting. Here are daily 
instructed more than one hundred children. The three 
ladies in charge conduct the school with tact and energy. 

" In the chapel there is religious service in the morn- 
ing and evening of every Sunday, and the Sunday-school 
is held in the afternoon. It is delightful to find gentle- 


men and ladies •willing to forego an after-dinner rest, 
and to hasten down into this disagreeable quarter, and 
instruct these children of poverty. Frequent religious 
meetings, are held in the evenings of the week ; so that 
this Mission chapel is a place of almost daily worship in 
some form. 

" The Missionary, who is the Superintendent and 
constant laborer in this work, visits the dwellings in this 
rum-stricken and poverty-stricken district, and seeks to 
bring oilt the children to be instructed. He visits the 
sick, and obtains relief for the needy, and endeavors to 
console the suffering, and to carry the light and power 
of the Gospel into these dark abodes. His work is a 
forbidding one, and he has to struggle with opposing in- 
fluences of the most disheartening character. But he is 
laboring on, and the Association has a youthful vigor 
which cannot fail to accomplish much. AYe trust that 
they will remove many children from this miserable 
quarter, and greatly alleviate the condition of those who 
must remain." 

Passing over a space in the history of our Mission of 
several months' duration, during which many interesting 
incidents occurred, some of which we have noted in the 
preceding chapters, we now ask you to read the following 
ably-written report, which was prepared for publication 
in the spring of 1858 ; but was never published, because 

384 sorrow's circuit. 

the society •was actually too poor to spare from its 
Treasury the amount of money necessary to pay the 
printer's bill. The Managers say : 

" In presenting the Fifth Annual Report of our Mis- 
sion, we would, with gratitude, acknowledge the gracious 
providence of God, who has hitherto led us, and whose 
continued presence is still so manifestly apparent in this 
great work. Through his sustaining influence, the Mis- 
sion has successfully passed through five years of proba- 
tion, and it is no longer 'an experiment.' % 

" Small and feeble was the commencement of the 
work, and, for a time, much opposition was encountered ; 
many of the residents of the district were decidedly hos- 
tile to such innovations as the preaching of the Gospel, 
or the establishment of Sabbath-schools ; but, happily, 
this spirit of hostility has, in a great measure, passed 
away, and although many still hold aloof, and look with 
no friendly eye on the work, yet open opposition is now 
rarely manifested. 

" The leavening influences of the Gospel are already 
seen in the district ; many of the turbulent brawlers, 
drunkards, and other pests of society, lii^ve been brought 
under its controlling power, and, in their renewed lives, 
and consistent Christian walk, they exhibit such a con- 
trast to their former sinful course, as to make them ' liv- 
ing examples to be seen, and read of all men," 


" Although the Gospel seed has, in many cases, fallen 
on barren ground, yet, even here, the promise is ful- 
filled ; some has fallen on good ground, has already 
sprung up and borne fruit, even to the extent of a hun- 
dred fold. 

" Among the various departments of the Mission, the 
day and the Sabbath-schools demand particular atten- 
tion. It may be proper, here, to state that the necessity 
for a day-school existed in the extreme destitution, and 
neglected condition of the poor children of the district, 
whose parents are too improvident to provide them with 
decent clothing, and too careless to obtain for them ad- 
mission into the Public Schools. 

•" Many of the children found in such districts are or- 
phans, or waifs, who, left without control, exposed to all 
the evil influences and bad companionship of the streets, 
and having to trust to their wits to obtain food or 
shelter, soon become adepts in petty crime, and grow up 
to figure on the criminal records of our courts, and to 
occupy the cells of our prisons. Although the first ex- 
periment of assembling these poor children together, 
was, owing to the morbid activity of their worst passions, 
sufiiciently trying ; yet, through the firm, but kind, man- 
agement of the ladies who undertook the arduous task 
of instructing them, they were, in a wonderfully short 

period of time, brought into such a state of order and 

386 sorrow's circuit. 

decorum, as to compare favorably with the best regulated 
schools in the city. Many of them evince an extraordi- 
nary aptitude to receive instruction, and a desire to make 
the best use of the opportunity afforded them. 

" Although the curriculum of our school is necessarily 
limited and simple, yet it is well adapted to the prac- 
tical necessities of life, and calculated to smooth the way 
in future efforts towards self-culture. Religious instruc- 
tion is combined with that which is secular, so as not 
only to counteract former bad influences, but also to im- 
plant and foster good principles, and so far as possible, 
to " train up the child in the way in which he should go." 
Our space will not permit us to enlarge on the successful 
working of our schools ; we would merely state, that, thus 
far, the results have exceeded our most sanguine expec- 
tations. Some of the former pupils of the school are 
apprentices of exemplary conduct, who bid fair to be- 
come useful citizens, good and true men. The school, 
at present, numbers 175 pupils, and would be much 
larger, had we room to accommodate the applicants for 
admission, many of whom, from this cause, we have been 
obliged to refuse. 

"With regard to the work among the adult population, 
we can, with gratitude to God, record unparalleled success. 
The work is steadily progressing, and is of such a 'char- 
acter, as to convince the most skeptical of the efficacy 


of tlie Gospel of Christ; we have here strong living argu- 
ments, demonstrations which doubters 'can neither gain- 
say nor resist.' Many have perseveringly knelt as peni- 
tents, for weeks and months, seeking pardon, and desisting 
not in their strong cries for mercy till they were able to 
set to their seal that God was true. 

"In many Christian churches, seasons of religious re- 
vival are looked upon as somewhat out of the regular 
order and course of things ; and are considered to be of 
such importance, as to call forth public notice in the 
newspapers. The Mission work in Bedford street is an 
unceasing revival ; anxious inquirers are constantly 
coming forward, conversions are always prayerfully 
looked for, and are generally of such a decided and un- 
mistakable character, as to stand out in bold relief. 

"Nearly every night in the week the church is crowded, 
and earnest penitents are found kneeling in the appointed 
place, crying for mercy. See that gray-headed old man 
feebly tottering forward! His careworn and deeply 
furrowed face exhibiting his anxious desire to flee from 
the wrath to come ; he kneels, and— his feeble age 
strengthened by the strong struggles of his soul after 
eternal life — continues kneeling, till the last of the con- 
gregation having departed, he reluctantly rises, and with 
a heavy heart leaves the church. lie has not yet re- 
ceived the blessing he sought ; but, not discouraged, he 

388 sorrow's circuit. 

comes again and again, till, at last, he is enabled by 
faith to lay hold of the hope set before him. God's 
Spirit speaks in the thrilling, small, still voice of pardon, 
and, oh ! what a change is there ! Joy illuminates the 
countenance, the eyes sparkle, and the aged man, Avith 
the strong voice of youth shouts, 'Glory!' and the 
shout is re-echoed by God's children around, 'Glory! 
Hallelujah !' 

" And may we not direct the eye of faith upward and 
see that group of shining ones ! May we not by faith 
listen to their shouts of Glory ! their Hallelujahs! 'For 
there is joy among the angels of God, over one sinner 
that repenteth.' 

" Or again, see among the group of penitents, that 
pale, emaciated woman ! Many years ago she stood 
hopefully and trustingly at the altar with the husband 
of her youth ; their future seemed bright. Why is she 
here ? Alas ! alas ! the drunkard's curse has fallen with 
blighting influence on their once happy homestead ; her 
husband now nightly reels to his home, a thing of loath-- 
ing and disgust. She is now the daily victim of his 
brutal blows and curses. Their children are found 
among the outcasts in the street, clad in tatters, and, 
perhaps, initiated in crime. She has heard of a com-, 
passionate Saviour, and has brought her load of sins and 
sorrows to the foot of the cross, where she earnestly 


seeks rest for her weary spirit. And not in vain does 
she seek. Weary and heavy laden, she casts her soul 
on the promise, and finds rest. Her load is removed, 
and conscious of God's pardoning and adopting love, 
she leaves the house of prayer with a gladdened heart 
and lightened step. Imbued with a true missionary 
spirit, and with the two powerful incentives of woman's 
love for her dear ones, and the love of God in her OAvn 
heart, she hopefully enters on her work. Her Mission 
field is at home with her husband and children, and by 
the blessing of God on her efforts, she shall succeed, it 
may be, after many trials and discouragements, but she 
shall succeed ; and our glorious Christianity — that Chris- 
tianity at which the infidel sneers — shall set that house in 
order, and remove the moral plague that was within the 

" These are no fancy sketches ; many of the incidents 
of the Mission work approach so nearly to the incredible, 
that we pause ere publishing them ; we would rather 
invite the Christian public to see and hear for themselves. 

" The monthly reports of the Missionary present many 
thrilling incident^ ; our space will only permit us to 
make a few extracts. In the report for May, he writes : 

" ' Last night I married four persons in Kelly's court, 
and then had to give them twenty-five cents to get their 
supper ; they had no beds to lie on, nor have they had 

390 sorrow's circuit. 

any all the winter.' In that for December, he writes: 
' There have been several fearful deaths during the past 
month. One poor wretch who was found dead was con- 
siderably eaten by rats.' Again we read : ' It is no un- 
common thing to find ten or twelve wretched beings liv- 
ing together in one room ten feet square, and without a 
particle of bed or bedding.' 'Often have we known* 
men and women to procure their own commitment to 
prison, preferring this to the miseries of Bedford and 
Baker streets. ^ We often find men from the higher 
walks of society, settling down in this sin-cursed district. 
Many of them are men of talent. Several former min- 
isters of the Gospel make this place their occasional re- 
sort. One man who used to preach the Gospel of the 
Son of God, is either in Baker street or jail the year 
round.' 'Another came from Scotland, with letters from 
distinguished divines of that country, to some of the 
most eminent men of this city ; but we found this man 
hatless and lying on the -street, too drunk to be moved 
for hours.' 

"But we reverse the picture. In one of the Reports, 
alluding to some recent and unexpected conversions, he 
writes : ' Our work has already reached families who 
seemed beyond our influence, but the Divine power has 
extended farther than our faith ; for, although we asked 
largely, yet were we unprepared to witness such triumphs 


of the Gospel, as have been recently exhibited in the 
conversion of some whom we never expected to see in a 
house of prayer.' 

" In alluding to the steadfastness of some of the con- 
verts, he writes : ' One whose case was considered almost 
hopeless beforg her conversion, has, for nearly three 
years, maintained a consistent Christian course ; and, 
lately, when she thought death was near, she triumphed 
gloriously, in the hope of an abundant entrance into the 
everlasting kingdom of her Lord and Saviour, Jesus 
Christ.' ■ 

" Of persons converted through the instrumentality 
of the Mission, between thirty and forty have died in 
the full triumphs of faith, besides one hundred and sixty, 
whose names continue on the Churdi Register, as accep- 
table members. About two thirds of those who have 
professed conversion remain steadfast. 

"During the past year, the Missionary has made about 
two thousand visits, and assisted about five hundred des- 
titute families. Many, both of adults and children, have 
been sent to the country, where, removed from the temp- 
tations to which they were formerly exposed, and sur- 
rounded by better influences, they are able to maintain 
their integrity, besides earning for themselves an honest 

" About two hundred and fifty sermons are preached 

392 SORllOW'S ClllCUIT. 

during the year, and during the summer months street 
preaching is attended to. Through the cheerful co-op- 
eration and efficient aid rendered hy the local preach- 
ers, many are thus brought under the sound of the Gos- 
pel, who would never seek it through the regular means. 
Besides the meetings for preaching, we have two prayer, 
and four class meetings every week ; making five hundred 
and sixty meetings for the worship of Almighty God dur- 
ing the year. 

" Strange as it may seem, this Mission is looked upon 
by some well-meaning Christians, as a hopeless under- 
taking ; they consider that both Christian zeal and 
money are wasted in the endeavor to make any good im- 
pression on such a degraded population ; and, that the 
whole work is only a spasmodic effort of a few over zeal- 
ous young men, who will soon be forced to abandon the 
barren field. True, the field is not very inviting. Here 
are no ' sunny fountains' nor ' Ceylonic spicy breezes.' 
No interestino; heathens bowing down to their idols of 
wood or stone. Nothing can be found "here to gratify a 
taste for the romantic or the sentimental ; squalor and 
wretchedness meet the eye at every step, the ears are 
constantly assailed with blasphemies and obscenity, and 
the atmosphere is poisoned with the noisome exhalations 
arising from the filthy streets and lanes. Nevertheless 
the Managers and promoters of this Mission entered on 


their work, with full faith in the poAver of the Gospel, in 
its capability to reach and to save the sinner, even in 
the last and lowest depth of degradation, this side of the 
grave ; and believing furthermore, that the continued en- 
joyment of God's favor was, in a great measure, condi- 
tional on a faithful performance of Christian duty, in 
doing all in their power to carry the glad tidings of 
peace to those who were less favorably situated than 
themselves, whether found among the dark-minded de- 
votees of heathenism or the equally degraded Pariahs of 

" The Divine Founder of Christianity gave, as one of 
the prominent proofs of His Messiahship, that 'the poor 
had the Gospel preached to them,' and, perhaps it will 
be found, that Christian churches flourish, or decline, in 
the same proportion as this godlike duty is attended to, 
or neglected. 

" Much of the ground is still unoccupied. The amount 
hitherto contributed for the support of the Mission has 
barely sufficed to meet its most pressing wants. Indeed 
this is the only discouraging feature of the work ; while 
many noble hearted Christians have contributed largely, 
and still continue the steadfast friends of the Mission, 
yet we have to deplore an indisposition on the part of 
the church generally to recognize or to support the work. 
Still we would believe that, as God has hitherto so gra- 

394 sorrow's circuit. 

ciously blessed the eflForts of the Mission, and made it 
the instrument of salvation to many immortal spirits, he 
"will also incline the hearts of his people, so to sustain 
the work, as to enable the Board of Managers not only 
to persevere in their present efforts, but also to enlarge 
the field of their operations, and carry the glad tidings 
of salvation to some other of the benighted localities, by 
which the Mission is surrounded. God has said, ' The 
silver and the gold are mine,' and we believe his faithful 
stewards will not withhold what is needful to sustain, and 
carry forward his own work." 

• To the foregoing interesting evidence of the progress 
and success of our Mission, I will take the liberty of ap- 
pending the account of our last Anniversary, as published 
in the April number of the "Mission Journal," together 
with our last Annual Report : 

" Our Anniversary. — We always feel somewhat 
anxious in relation to the success of our Anniversary. 
That momentous affair took place on the 23rd of last 
month, at Concert Hall. And we can again breathe 
freely. And truly we have reason to be thankful for 
our success. That beautiful room was well filled in 
every part ; scarcely a seat unoccupied even in the gal- 
lery ; and, indeed, it presented a very imposing appear- 
ance. On the platform we were favored by a goodly 
number of Methodist ministers, who were in attendance 


at the Conference then in session. The children under 
the care of the Mission, with their teachers, and the 
Board of Managers, likewise occupied seats there ; 
among whom we observed ' Little Katj,' quite a privil- 
eged character. The children did not present that look 
of squalid poverty which might have been expected from 
dwellers in ' Sorrow's Circuit,' but had for the most 
part a pleasant, healthy aspect. Their clothes were 
none of the finest, you may be sure, and were rather 
extensively patched, but, on the whole, showed the 
good care bestowed upon them by their patrons and 
teachers ; and as opportunity offered, (which was not un- 
frequent,) the pleased urchins did their very best in ap- 
plauding the eloquent speeches of the Rev. Messrs. Wi- 
ley, Cookman, and Chambers. Indeed those gentlemen 
acquitted themselves in a most happy manner. Always 
eloquent, on this occasion they were particularly so, be- 
cause they felt their subject. The addresses were listened 
to with marked attention by the vast audience present, 
and elicited repeated bursts of applause. Indeed they 
produced all the effect that could have been desired — 
hut one — that is, they did not bring much money ! Much 
money in a basket collection we scarcely expect to re- 
alize from a Philadelphia audience, they are so much ac- 
customed to donate largely in pledges. Our great aim 
was, therefore, to give publicity to the enterprise, and that 

396 sorrow's circuit. 

we trust, has been effectually done. And now, dear 
reader, carefully digest the report, a7id send us the 
means to pucrsue our labors." 

" Report. — In presenting the Sixth Annual Report 
of the Bedford Street Mission, we would most gratefully 
acknowledge the goodness and mercy of the Lord, Avhich 
have been vouchsafed to us during the past year. While 
we have had various discouragements and diflBcultics to 
contend with, we too have seen the gracious providence 
of God displayed in an eminent degree, both in supply- 
ing our temporal wants, as well as in shedding forth his 
Holy Spirit upon the people among whom we labor. 

" To strangers visiting the locality in which our Mis- 
sion is situated, it might appear that but little has been 
done towards ameliorating the condition of its wretched 
inhabitants ; but to those acquainted with that neighbor- 
hood before the institution of the Mission the contrast is 
very striking. The scenes which then met the eye were 
disgusting in the extreme, demoralizing, and offensive to 
decency. Drunkenness and vice in their worst shapes 
everywhere abounded; horrid oaths and blasphemies 
were heard on all sides ; whites and blacks herded to- 
gether on the sidewalks in a state of beastly intoxication, 
so that it was impossible to walk any distance without 
stepping over some prostrate inebriate; while brawls and 
fights were of hourlv occurrence. Now, however, these 


things do not exist to the same extent, or, at least, are 
not so openly displayed ; and were it not for the filthy 
condition of the streets, ladies might walk square after 
square without inconvenience or embarrassment. Such 
is the moral power of this Mission ! feebly began, like 
most other Christian enterprises, it already wields a 
healthy influence over these degraded beings, teaching 
them to respect the comities of civilized life, not by 
physical force or coercive enactments, but simply by the 
benign suasion of the Gospel of Christ. 

" In conducting the affairs of the Mission, various 
means are used, various instrumentalities put in requisi- 
tion, to meet the moral and physical wants of the deni- 
zens of that district. Consequently the preaching of 
the Gospel holds a prominent place in our operations. 

" There are four religious meetings held every Sab- 
bath in the Mission-house ; we have also prayer and 
class-meetings, or experience-meetings, five evenings of 
each week — making in all about 500 meetings annually 
for religious exercises, besides extra services, and open- 
air preaching at several points in the vicinity when the 
weather permits. As the result of this ( we speak ad- 
visedly), hundreds of persons have been brought under 
the influence of the saving grace of God ! Many of 
these poor creatures were of the most abandoned charac- 
ter, and soon fell victims to disease, engendered by their 

398 sorrow's circuit. 

former vicious habits ; but, some are yet among us, giv- 
ing daily evidence of a work of grace in their hearts, 
and showing, by their walk and conversation, the power 
of the Gospel in their salvation, to the praise of Him 
who hath called them out of darkness into his marvelous 

" After these reformations have been effected, the 
great difficulty lies in preserving the converts from the 
baneful influences of former companionships. Reduced 
to the lowest state of poverty, and having great difficulty 
in obtaining employment, they are obliged to resort to 
cheap lodging houses, where they are exposed to power- 
ful temptations; and although many have remained 
faithful for years to the new service upon which they 
have entered, yet it is obvious to the least discerning 
that they ought to be removed entirely from old associa- 
tions, in order, as far as possible, to prevent a relapse 
into former habits. 

"A temporary home should be provided for thera, 
where they might form neio associations, learn habits of 
industry, and be placed in a way of earning their liveli- 
hood. Until this is effected our work is but half done, 
and we would strongly recommend to the friends of the 
Mission the propriety of at once taking steps to secure 
such a desirable object. Were the house provided, there 
would not be much difficulty in supporting it, as it might 


in a short time be made self-sustaining. As all the con- 
tributions are faithfully appropriated to the purposes for 
which they are designed by the donors, we hope this new 
enterprise will not be lost sight of. 

"Notwithstanding all that may be done in this direc- 
tion, we need scarcely expect that those unaccustomed 
to industrial pursuits, and notoriously unthrifty in their 
habits, can, in advanced life, be thoroughly reformed in 
these particulars. The habits of adults may be modified, 
but not eradicated ; the young are the hope of the world. 
The future is only the development of the present. Our 
principal expectation is from the rising generation, and 
upon them we find it necessary to make our strongest 

" We have, accordingly, established both Sabbath and 
day-schools in connection with the Mission. The av- 
erage attendance in the day-school and infant class is 
now about 250, and as far as order is concerned, will 
compare favorably with any school within the range of 
our observation. Not dhly are the children instructed in 
the ordinary branches of a common school education, 
but, which is of yet higher importance, the fundamental 
doctrines of our holy religion are carefully and persist- 
ently inculcated. The Lord's Prayer, the Ten Com- 
mandments, the Apostles' Creed, together with appro- 
priate texts of Scripture, are learned by every child in 

400 sorrow's circuit. 

school, and we feel assured that the good seed thus sown 
in tender hearts will spring up in after years, and bring 
forth fruit to the honor and glory of God. In the case 
of the children, we are in many instances happily enabled 
to remove them from their accustomed haunts and vicious 
entanglements by placing them in homes in the country. 
About fifty have been thus proA'ided for during the past 
year, and in almost every instance the reports from both 
the children and their masters are highly satisfactory. 
To support these schools we require to raise about $1200 

" During the past year the school fund became very 
low,* and our faith was severely tried ; but that Provi- 
dence which has so long watched over the interests of 
our Mission, sent relief in a most unexpected manner. 
A Friend was directed [Divinely directed no doubt] to 
visit the school during last spring, and, being gratified 
with the aspect of the Mission, not only made a liberal 
donation himself, but influenced others likewise to con- 
tribute ; by which means that department was at once 
relieved from pecuniary embarrassment. The Board of 
Managers would thus return their heartfelt thanks to 
those gentlemen for their timely assistance, without 
which Ave should have been very much hindered in our 

" The Mission has labored under a very serious disad- 


Tantage ever since its establishment, for the want of 
proper medical advice. Many, it is feared, have died iu 
consequence of neglect in this particular, it being fre- 
quently impossible to obtain the services of a physician 
in case of emergency ; an d Avhen procured, his instruc- 
tions could not always be complied with, there not be- 
ing money at hand to purchase medicines. A few weeks 
since a committee was appointed to consider the expe- 
diency of establishing a Dispensary for the benefit of 
the poor of that neighborhood. They reported favora- 
bly, and we have the pleasure of announcing that a 
medical ofiice is being fitted up in the Mission-house, 
which will be furnished with every thing necessary for 
the wants, of the sick ; and we trust that the afflicted in 
that vicinity will never again sufier for want of proper 
medical attendance. It is designed not only to give ad- 
vice at the Dispensary on certain days in each week, 
but as well to administer to the wants of the sick at 
their own homes when required, without distinction of 
creed or color. Wherever there may he distress we de- 
sire to relieve it. 

" In cultivating this destitute portion of the great 
Gospel field, we feel much circumscribed in our opera- 
tions for the want of sufficient funds. It is true, God 
has signally favored our eflforts, and often supplied our 
wants, when we knew not which way to look for assis- 

402 sorrow's circuit, 

tance. But wlieTi we look around us and see so much 
need of Christian effort, we sincerely deplore our ina- 
bility to do more, and sigh for the opportunity to en- 
large our sphere of action. We have supposed that, were 
the Christian public aware of our circumstances, there 
would be no lack of money to supply our wants. Vari- 
ous means have been thought of, and recently it was 
deemed advisable to publish a paper, in which to exhibit 
the state of our affairs, and thus to invite a more hearty 
co-operation in the prosecution of this great work. We 
have accordingly issued the first No. of ' City Sorrows, or 
Bedford Street Mission Journal,' and distributed it ex- 
tensively both in town and country. Should we meet 
with success, the sheet will be enlarged and published 
monthly. We propose sending it regularly to those who 
will subscribe one dollar or more annually to the sup- 
port of the Mission ; trusting it will not only be useful 
in exhibiting the workings of the Mission, but also that 
it will be productive of much good, in furnishing healthy 
matter to the domestic circle. 

" While endeavoring to promote a moral reformation 
among the poor and destitute of Bedford street and kin- 
dred localities, it is always desirable, nay indispensable, 
that their physical as well as their spiritual wants be ju- 
diciously attended to. The Gospel, with all its infinite 
worth, does not appease the cravings of hunger, nor im- 


part warmth to the naked, shivering outcast. It is vain 
to expect the preaching of the Gospel, hy itself, to effect 
a healthy permanent reformation among these masses. 
The Gospel was never designed to go alone on its errand 
of mercy ; and in losing sight of this, it has not been as 
efficient as it might have been. St. James hath said, 
'Faith without works is dead, being alone ;' and while 
the Divine Author of our holy religion preached the 
glad tidings of salvation to the poor, he did not forget 
to alleviate the miseries of fallen humanity. He not 
only went about teaching and preaching the Gospel of 
the Kingdom, but likewise ' healing all manner of sick- 
ness, and all manner of disease among the people.' 
When sending out his disciples to proclaim his coming 
Kingdom, ' Go,' said he, 'heal the sick, cleanse the lep- 
ers, raise the dead, cast out devils.' And when they 
would on one occasion have sent the multitude away 
fasting, who had been with them for three days, He fed 
them, not only to show his power to work miracles, but 
to inculcate the practice, the duty of contributing to the 
physical wants of those to whom they might be called to 
preach. In fact, the Gospel, unlike any other system 
of religion, provides for both worlds. It has the pro- 
mise of this life as well as of that which is to come ; and 
if we would make this Mission highly successful, if we 
would work a thorough reformation in that sin-cursed, 


degraded neighborhood, we must contribute more largely 
of our means. Preaching the Gospel with us does not 
cost much ; we glory in a free Gospel : prayer for our 
success is cheap, very cheap. We must preach, we must 
pray, we must supplicate the Throne of the Heavenly 
Mercy for success, (for success alone cometh from God ;) 
but we must as well perform our duty faithfully, vigorously, 
and in a cross-bearing, self-denying spirit. It has been 
said of us, ' We don't expect to see this wilderness blos- 
som as the rose.' And why not ? We again ask, Why 
not ? Give but the Gospel fair play, and we shall see 
it. The power of the Gospel can do it ! But the power 
of the Gospel must not be felt merely by the poor, 
wretched inhabitants of Bedford and Baker streets. No, 
no ! It must he better felt by Philadelphia Christians. 
It must awaken their dormant sympathies ; it must im- 
part to them a spirit of liberality ; it must arouse them 
to action — continued, persevering action. Let the filthy 
dens in those places be cleansed and purified ; let the 
naked be clothed, the starving fed ; let the drinking 
hells be broken »up ! Do all this, and at the same time 
preach the Gospel of the Son of God with the Holy 
Ghost sent down from Heaven, and this place will soon 
cease to be a valley of Gehenna, a receptacle for all that 
is filthy, and vile, and disgraceful in this great city ; 
then, ' instead of the thorn, shall come up the fir-tree, 


and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle-tree ; 
and it sliall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlast- 
ing sign, that shall not be cut off.' 

"Attached to this Mission is the Ladies' Central 
Home Mission, auxiliary to the Young Men's Central 
Home Mision, who render very efficient service in cloth- 
ing the children, and in other self-denying and praise- 
worthy duties. They meet in the Union M. E. Church 
on every Friday afternoon to make garments for the 
children of the school under our care. They have dis- 
tributed, through the teachers, about 900 garments, 300 
pairs of shoes, and 100 caps and bonnets, since our last 
report. The Board of Managers return their sincere 
thanks to the ladies of Bristol for their many liberal 
donations, received through Mrs. Rankin, during the 
past year. We also thankfully acknowledge the receipt 
of a large number of cast-off garments from Girard Col- 
lege — a present most opportune, and highly appreciated 
by the poor children. We would likewise remember 
with gratitude the many donations in money, clothing, 
coals, and other necessaries, which we have received 
from various quarters ; and hope to make due acknow- 
ledgments hereafter in our paper of the liberality and 
kindness of our friends. 

" The Treasurer reports the following, viz ; 

406 sorrow's circuit. 

Total amount of receipts for 1858 for school and 

current expense account, .... $2950 
Total expenditures for same time, . . . 2886 

Balance in Treasury, March 21, 1859, . 64 

" Due and unpaid on account of school fund, about 




Whereas, there are in the city and suburbs of Philadel- 
phia, many who never statedly or occasionally attend any 
place of " public worship 5" likewise many children not at- 
tached to any Sabbath-school, being destitute of that instruc- 
tion calculated to make them " wise unto salvation ;" and, 
believing it to be our duty to do all in our power to promote 
the Redeemer's kingdom on earth, and to ameliorate both 
temporally and spiritually the condition of the human family, 
we do hereby agree to adopt the following Constitution for 
our government as an association under the name and for the 
objects herein specified. 


This corporation shall be known by the name, style, and 
title of " The Younu Men's Central Home Mission of 
THE Methodist Episcopal Church," for the City of 
Philadelphia, and by that name shall have perpetual succes- 
sion, with power to have a common seal, device, and inscrip- 
tion, as they shall deem fit and proper, and the same to break, 
alter, and renew at their pleasure, and to make contracts, sue 



and be sued, anil to take, hold, mortf^ape, soil, and convey any 
ostiito, rcnl and ppr»onal, not cxcccdirij,' in the whole the 
clear yearly value or income of Five thouuaud dollars. 


The objects of this .Society shall be : Ist. The holding of 
preaching, exhortation, and prayer-nieetingx, in destitute 
places. 2d. The cstablihhing of Sahbath-schools wherever 
]»racticahln. .'{rd. The dinfribution of liiblcs. Tracts, or other 
good books to the destitute. 4lh. The education and relief 
of destitute children. 



The businoHH of this Sneipty shall bo conducted by a Uoard 
of forty managers, to bo choMcn at the iVnnual Meeting in 
Miirch, viva vocr ; and the present managers, to wit: James 
AVatts, George Millikcn, Edmund S. Yard, William IJ. Elton- 
head, Josiah 11. Steelmun, Joseph Thompson, Daniel Kear- 
chor, Robert McNoal, Archibald Nichol, John 31. Maris, 
Francis A. Fidlcr, 1). II. Loudonslager, John Orr, John Clino, 
.liilin Gladding, Charles Stockman, Franklin Jcnks, S. P. 
hariington, William Kcarchor, ("harlos II. Chubb, J. Shur- 
lock, Joel IlaniincI, Samuel (irifBth, Edward McKoo, A. II. 
]>o Haven, Tlmnias Mc(,'loud, Alcxamlcr J. Dougherty, 
Thomas Walkins, William Stevenson, Frank Shoemaker, Jo- 
seph \i. Loudonslager, Samuel Mott, Thomas Sappington, J. 
Hopkins, E. J. Keiiney, J. O'Connor, I. Lewis, William S. 
Martin, F. G. Vangunden, John Field, shall continue until 
tlieir successors are elected from the annual contributors to 
the Society. 

APPENDIX. ' 409 


Vacancies and Bij-Laws. 

The Board shall have power to fill all vacancies that may 
occur in their own body, and shall also make such by-laws for 
their own government as shall not conflict with the provisions 
of this constitution, or the constitution and laws of the United 
States, or the constitution and laws of the State of Pennsylvania. 


Anniversary . 

The Board shall call a meetinp: of the Society annually, 
during the month of JMarch, at which time they shall give a 
report of the proceedings and the state of the Mission. 



The Officers of the Board of Managers shall consist of a 
President, Vice President, Corresponding Secretary, Record- 
ing Secretary, and Treasurer, who shall be elected by the 
Board, at their first iMeeting succeeding the Anniversary, from 
their own body by ballot and by a majority of the votes cast. 



A Missionary shall be appointed by the l^ishop presiding 
at the Philadelphia Annual Conference, or the constituted au- 
thorities of the Church, and shall be a member of the Board, 
by virtue of his office, and entitled to all the privileges thereof, 
except that of election to office, and shall receive such com- 
pensation for his services as the Board of Managers shall 
I'rora time to time direct and appoint. 



Terms of Memhership. 

Any person being a citizen of the commonwealth of Penn- 
sylvania, paying the sum of One Dollar or upwards, annually, 
shall be a member of the Society ; and the payment of Five 
Dollars, or upwards, shall constitute a member for life. 



At the meetings of the Society, seven members shall con- 
stitute a quorum, and a less number may adjourn from time 
to time. 



This constitution may be altered or amended at any meet- 
ing of the Board; provided two-thirds of the members present 
vote in favor of such alteration or amendment : written notice 
of the same having been given at a meeting of the Board at 
least one month previous. 





City and County op Philadelphia, ss: 

Be it remembered, That at a Court of Common Pleas held 
at Philadelphia, in and for the said City and County, on the 
fifth day of November, A. D. 1855, the above instrument of 
•writing was presented to the said Court for the purpose of 
incorporation : Whereupon, the Court ordered the same to 
be filed in the Prothonotary's office of said Court, and that 
public notice be given of the application for incorporation, 
agreeably to the provisions of the Act of Assembly in such 
case made and provided : And now, to wit, December third, 
A. D. 1855, due proof having been exhibited of the publica- 
tion of notice agreeably to the order of the Court, and no 
cause to the contrary being shown ; and it appearing to the 
Court that the objects, articles, and conditions in said In- 
strument set forth and contained are lawful and not injurious 
to the community, on motion of I. D. Budd, Junr., Esq., it 
is ordered and decreed that the persons so associated shall, 
according to the articles and conditions in the said instru- 
ment set forth and contained, become and be a corporation or 

body politic, and that the said Charter of Incorporation shall 



be recorded in the office for Recording Deeds, &c., for the 
City and County of Philadelphia. 

Witness my hand and seal of the office this third day of 
December, A. D. 1855, 

[seal] JAS. G. GIBSON, 

Recorded in the office for Recording Deeds, &c., for the 
City and County of Philadelphia. Miscels. Book T. H. No. 
1, page 570, &c. 

[seal] Recorder. 

Per M. MYERS. 




1859. • 

GEORGE MILLIKEN— Mount Vernon st. ab. Seventeenth. 

Vice President, 
E. S. YARD— No. 209 Spruce street. 

Recording Secretary, 
D. H. LOUDENSLAGER— Sargent street above Ninth. 

Corresponding Secretary, 
JOHN GLADDING— Fourth street above Chestnut. 

WILLIAM C. STEVENSON— 712 South Second street. 

BENJAMIN T. SEWELL— 908 South Sixth street. 

Life Directors, 

Rev. bishop SCOTT, Capt. W. WHILDEN 


James Watts, Joel G. Ramrael, 

Edmund S. Yard, Daniel Karcher, 

Joseph Thompson, George W. Evans, 

David n. Loudenslagcr, Joseph E. Hendrickson, 

John Gladding, James A. Grace, 

Franklin Jenks, S. Goodman, 
\ 413 


William Karcber, Thomas Sappington, 

William C. Stevenson, Andrew Robeno, 

Samuel C Mott, Israel Peterson, 

George Milliken, Jobn M. Maris, 

Josiab B. Steelman, A. W. Rand, 

Robert M. O'Keefe, H. Haydock, 

Francis A. Fidler, F. Van Grunden, 

Edward J. Kenne^ I. H. Burdsall, 

F. Scoffin, M. D., John H. Gore, 

J. W. Torrey, I. Cardwell, 
C. A. Kingsbury, M. D., ' R. P. Smith, 

W. I. P. Ingrabam, G. Cookman, 

I. L. Bispham, F. H. Shoemaker, 

L. D. Harlow, M. D., Robert McNeil 

Resolutions of the Philadelphia Annual Conference of the M. E. 


Resolved, That in the judgment of this conference, The 
Young Men's Central Home Mission of Philadelphia is en- 
gaged in a holy cause, and is worthy of the support of the 
church generally. Resolved, That this conference strongly 
recommend the aforesaid Mission to the favorable considera- 
tion of the members of our church, and the public at large. 


Resolntions of the New Jersey Annual Conference of the M. E. 


Whereas the Young Men's Central Home Mission having 
organized a Mission in Bedford street, Philadelphia, (a lo- 
cality equal in degradation to the Five Points of New York,) 
and believing in the integrity of the men and women who 
have the management of the said Mission, and also from its 
great success in the past five years. We, the members of the 
New Jersey Conference : Resolve, That in the judgment of 
this Conference, the Young Men's Central Hume Mission la- 
boring in Bedford street and vicinity, is engaged in a holy 
cause, and worthy of the support of the church generally. 

I certify the above to be a true copy. 

I. LEWIS, Secy., 
of the New Jersey Conference. 





First Directress^ 
Mrs. E. S. YARD— No 209 Spruce street. 

Second Directress^ 
Mrs. M. J. KAY. 

Third Directress. 

Mrs. T. T. MASON— Fifth street below Arch. 

Corresponding Secretary, 

Recording Secretary, 
Miss M. C. MOORE— 207 South Ninth street. 


Uniov — Mrs. J. Peterson, Mrs. H. A. Shibe, Mrs. E. S. 
Yard, Mr^i. M. Folwell, Mrs. William C. Edwards, Mrs. T. 
T. Mason, Mrs. Monrose, Mrs. Lewis, Mrs. K. Eltonhead, 
Mrs. E. Young, Mrs. Mary Pearce, Mrs. Beulah Hirst, Mrs. 
Ingraham, Mrs. Burton, Miss Lavinia Kenney, Miss H. L. 
Evans, Miss M. A.Willis, Miss IMary C. Moore, Mrs. Cnrlisle, 
Mrs. McCalley, Mrs. James A. Grace, Mrs. S. Elsegood. 



Trinity.— Mrs. J. Cadmus, Mrs. J. 0. Mead, Mrs. C. W. 

Ebknezer. — Mrs. Clifton, Mrs. Earley, Mrs. J. Hanley, Mrs. 
Barnes, iMrs. Jackson. 

St. Paul's. — Mrs. Anderson, Mrs. Perrine. 

St. George's. — Mrs. Fullmer. 

Wharton St — Miss E. L. Stevenson, Miss Lizzie Ken- 
ney, Miss Mattie Kenney, Mrs. William C, Stevenson, Mrs. 
M. J. Kay. 

GrREEN St. — Mrs. Sinn, Mrs. Sappington, Miss Sallie 

Central. — Mrs. J. F. Walker, Mrs. Reafield. 

Fifth St. — Mrs. William West, Miss Susan P. Engle, 
Miss Henry, 

Broad St. — Mrs. Wootten, Miss K. Black. 

Western.^ — Mrs. Hannah Bangs. 

■?- n 


o o